Unique Adaptive-Reuse Development in New Orleans’ Warehouse District Receives $30 Million in Bridge Financing via Walker & Dunlop
Walker & Dunlop, Inc. announced today that it structured $29,737,500 in bridge financing for The Garage, a newly redeveloped Class A mixed-use property located in the trendy Arts and Warehouse District of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Originally built in 1951, The Garage was formerly an automobile dealership and parking structure, known as Stephen’s Garage. Today, the five-story property includes 51 multifamily apartments, 11 penthouse units, and 20,940 square feet of ground floor retail. The property maintains unique, industrial features, such as two car elevators that allow residents to park in front of their respective units.
The property was acquired in July 2008 by Wisznia Architecture + Development, a multi-disciplinary, full-service design and development firm with over 70 years of continuous practice. Wisznia is the architect, developer, and property manager of The Garage. Completed in December 2019, the multifamily portion of the property is currently undergoing lease-up and had reached 60 percent occupancy at the time of funding. The retail space is currently vacant but continues to draw interest from single-users and multi-users alike.
Led by Stephen Farnsworth and Paul Garner, the Walker & Dunlop team worked diligently to structure non-recourse financing through Bridge Investment Group, despite very turbulent capital markets. The team also skillfully navigated several unique components and requirements of the transaction, which included State and Federal Historic Tax Credits, a restoration tax abatement, a mixed-use transitional lease-up, as well as converting the 11 penthouse condominiums into rental units. The bridge financing effectively retired the property’s existing construction loan, and the three-year term provides ample time for the remaining lease-up and reimbursement for commercial tenant improvements.
“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this highly complex project,” commented Marcel Wisznia, President of Wisznia Architecture + Development. “Stephen and Paul, from the Walker & Dunlop team, worked tirelessly to secure a bridge loan that met our many and varied needs. They also coordinated amongst several parties to ensure that each of the tax credit requirements for The Garage were met.” He continued, “Our experience with the W&D team exceeded our expectations, and we look forward to working with them on our newest construction project that will provide workforce housing in New Orleans.”
Walker & Dunlop’s Paul Garner stated, “Working with Wisznia to finance The Garage has been one of the most rewarding assignments of my career. The multifaceted historic, adaptive reuse project was extremely complex, yet the team at Bridge Investment Group did not back down from the challenge, and served as the perfect lending partner for our client.” He added that, “this transaction exemplifies Walker & Dunlop’s wide-ranging financing expertise, as well as our phenomenal network of capital providers.”
Walker & Dunlop has one of the strongest networks in the industry, with over 250 capital sources. The firm completed $5.9 billion in brokered loan originations from January through September 2020, a 21.6 percent increase over the same period in 2019. For information about Walker & Dunlop's view on the apartment market, including expert perspectives on markets, leadership, and the road ahead, visit our Driven by Insight information center.
About Walker & Dunlop
Walker & Dunlop (NYSE: WD), headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, is one of the largest commercial real estate finance companies in the United States. The company provides a comprehensive range of capital solutions for all commercial real estate asset classes, as well as investment sales brokerage services to owners of multifamily properties. Walker & Dunlop is included on the S&P SmallCap 600 Index and was ranked as one of FORTUNE Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2014, 2017, and 2018. Walker & Dunlop’s 950+ professionals in 41 offices across the nation have an unyielding commitment to client satisfaction.
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