Mass Mutual lends $390m for New York East River development

A division of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company has provided a $390m mortgage loan to JDS Development Group for a massive two-tower luxury residential development set to rise on Manhattan’s East River waterfront. Progress at the 626 First Avenue site, nestled between 35th and 36th Streets, follows nearly a decade of planning and a year-long search for […]

A division of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company has provided a $390m mortgage loan to JDS Development Group for a massive two-tower luxury residential development set to rise on Manhattan’s East River waterfront.

Progress at the 626 First Avenue site, nestled between 35th and 36th Streets, follows nearly a decade of planning and a year-long search for financing by JDS, which acquired the site last year.

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A rendering of 626 1st Avenue by SHoP Architects

New York City Department of Finance records show that the loan was made by Mass Mutual’s investment management subsidiary Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, which invests in senior loans for its Mass Mutual parent and for other clients.

JDS, founded by luxury residential developer Michael Stern, bought the property in February of last year for $172.1m, city records show.

The firm set out in September to find a lender, at the time seeking $452m of debt on the project, which would have represented about 75% loan-to-cost of the $600m in estimated development and construction costs.

Stern could not be reached for comment and Cornerstone’s debt team was unable to provide additional information regarding the loan terms — and whether or not any additional financing was being sought/provided — in time for publication.

The SHoP Architects-designed towers will feature approximately 800 luxury rentals, spread between a 40-story tower and another 47-story tower, with additional retail space facing First Avenue.

Construction plans show two grand lobbies with 30 foot ceilings, a privately owned public park facing the East River and a rooftop lounge with a pool, bar, private cabanas and outdoor kitchen, among a long list of amenities, according to JDS’s website.

Developer Sheldon Solow bought the site from energy company Consolidated Edison in 2005 for $91m, ultimately scrapping construction plans and selling the site to JDS.

Mission Capital Advisors, which served as an adviser to JDS on the loan, declined comment.

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