Banking & Finance and Real Estate

Cohen Financial secures $15M in loans for two property acquisitions

December 24, 2012
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Cohen Financial secures $15M in loans for two property acquisitions
The Comerica building in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy Cohen Financial

The local office of Cohen Financial played an instrumental role in financing two commercial real estate acquisitions in Grand Rapids and in a re-financing transaction in Midland.

The Cohen office, which is headed by Cathy Bronkema, secured a $5 million SBA 504 loan for the new owner of the Ramada Plaza Hotel, LOF Grand Rapids LLC, and a $10 million acquisition loan for Franklin Partners LLC for its purchase of 99 Monroe, a 13 story Class A office structure located in the heart of downtown.

Bronkema said she teamed with Dan Rosenberg, who directs the Cohen office in Chicago, for the office building, which has Comerica Bank as a major tenant. Franklin Partners has its headquarters in a Chicago suburb. Bronkema said a local bank was involved in the hotel transaction.

“Since I established the Cohen Financial Grand Rapids office in 2011, I have been actively securing financing for all CRE property types and, more importantly, with a variety of lenders,” said Bronkema, partner and executive vice president at Cohen.

In just her first few months at Cohen, Bronkema was able to help clients secure $10.2 million in loans and did so through a partnership with Colliers International of West Michigan, also located in Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids office is Cohen Financial’s eighth regional office.

The re-financing transaction in Midland involved a Home Depot store and was worth $6.5 million. Bronkema secured the loan from a life insurance company.

The three transactions totaled $21.5 million and have closed. Bronkema said her clients were out-of-state borrowers.

The Ramada Plaza Hotel, at 3333 28th St. SE in Kentwood, has 181 rooms and features a giant indoor waterslide. Grand Rapids Hospitality, a Midland-based firm, had owned the hotel since 2009, and the hotel’s State Equalized Value is $2.85 million, according to Kent County records. LOF Grand Rapids is a national operator based in Fargo, N.D.

Franklin Partners, which is in the process of upgrading the office building that opened in 1985, bought 99 Monroe from the building’s lender last summer. The structure offers 200,000 square feet of space, is connected to the downtown Skywalk and has earned a LEED Gold certification and two Energy Star certifications. In addition to Comerica Bank, McShane & Bowie and Miller Canfield also are lead tenants.

“We really like downtown Grand Rapids. There is a dynamic going on there, and the future of it looks great,” said Donald Shoemaker, a partner in Franklin Partners, last July. “We just like the fundamentals of downtown. It was kind of an easy decision (to buy 99 Monroe), actually.”

Bronkema is a native of the area and returned here to direct the local Cohen office after spending nine years at the firm’s corporate headquarters in Chicago. Before that, she worked for 10 years as a portfolio manager at Lowe Enterprises, an investment management firm and pension-fund advisor in Los Angeles.

“The commercial real estate market in Michigan continues to trend upwards, and lenders have a growing appetite to finance more properties in this region,” said Bronkema.

“In 2013, I expect the positive momentum to continue in the Michigan CRE market and a continuation of attractive financing available for all property types.”

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