IRVINE, CA—Amos Smith, Ryan Chapman and Sean Skelton in the locally based office of Johnson Capital have arranged a $100-million credit facility secured by the historic Original Farmers Market property in Los Angeles. The heart of the transaction was to identify a capital source with the capability to offer both flexibility for future advances and stability in a fixed-rate loan for the underlying collateral.
The borrower is an entity controlled by the A.F. Gilmore Co., which purchased the site in 1880 and keeps its headquarters in the Gilmore Adobe on the Farmers Market grounds. At closing, the borrower completed a 10-year, fixed-rate interest-rate swap for $40 million of the credit facility, and it has five years to draw down the remaining committed amount.
According to Smith, “Our team worked with the borrower to identify a single source that understood the borrower’s needs and structured a loan that allowed A.F. Gilmore to take advantage of today’s low-interest-rate environment while retaining the ability to expand on the company’s success in the years to come.”
The Original Farmers Market, located in a highly populous and affluent area known as the Fairfax district, is bordered ty 3rd. St. to the south, Fairfax Ave. to the west, CBS Television City to the north and the Grove Dr. to the east. The market, which opened in 1934, is an open-air shopping center whose collateral property consists of 237,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space.
In 2001, the site was redeveloped by A.F. Gilmore, which built four new class-A office and retail buildings, with a total of approximately 168,200 square feet, on land adjacent to the Original Farmers Market. At that time, it also refurbished the Original Farmers Market, which consists of a cluster of buildings offering approximately 68,400 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The site consists of approximately 15 acres and offers a total of 1,132 parking spaces.
Major retail tenants in the successful market, which attracts more than 18 million visitors per year, include Cost Plus, Zara USA and Planet Dailies L.A. Other notable retail and restaurant tenants include Sur la Table, Marmalade Café, Chipotle and Starbucks. Office tenants include entertainment-industry and advertising firms. The Original Farmers Market buildings have 100 tenants, most occupying 1,000 square feet or less, and many of the occupying their space for decades.
A.F. Gilmore is actively developing and acquiring commercial real estate. In 2012, it completed the newest development in the area, Gilmore Station, a Trader Joe’s-anchored retail center located directly across Fairfax. In September 2013, the company acquired a 57,000-square-foot class-A office building at 145 S. Fairfax, directly across from the main driveway to the Farmers Market.
Johnson Capital has been active in providing capital for properties in a variety of markets across the country. As GlobeSt.com reported in March, the firm arranged $60 million in fixed-rate senior debt to refinance a retail condo in the One North State Street office building in Chicago. Neil Bane, a principal in the firm’s New York City office, led the effort.