NEW YORK CITY-Brookfield Office Properties has refinanced its1.6-million-square-foot tower at 245 Park Ave. for $800 million,the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The loan forthe 44-story office property is reportedly the largest to date fromthe Bank of China’s New York branch, as well as the one of thelargest loans from any source since the economic downturnbegan.

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The WSJ noted that Industrial & Commercial Bank ofChina Ltd., China’s largest bank by assets, began year rolling outa “large-loan” program earlier this year, aimed at US commercialreal-estate owners that needed loans exceeding $100 million. ChinaInvestment Corp., the $300-billion sovereign-wealth fund, alsoseeks to put cash into domestic real estate through investing withUS property-fund managers, according to the WSJ.

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A source in the life insurance industry told GlobeSt.com thispast summer that BOP had sought to syndicate an $800-millionrefinancing on a Manhattan office tower through life companies, ongrounds that no one insurer had a large enough allocation to makesuch a loan on its own. BOP's spokeswoman on Thursday confirmed therefi through Bank of China, saying it was a seven-year deal at3.88%, but declined to comment on the syndication scenario.

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However, such large-scale refis from multiple sources arebeginning to happen again. At a panel discussion presented lastmonth by the Real Estate Board of New York, Jonathan Durst,president of the Durst Organization, cited his company’ssecuritized $1.3-billion refi of the Bank of America Tower at 1Bryant Park. That deal, financed in part by one of the largest CMBSissues of the past two years, got done this past July only afterthe Durst Organization obtained a short-term refi a year earlierfrom a group mainly comprised of the project’s constructionlenders, he said. With the help of BofA, Durst’s partner and anchortenant at the 2.4-million-square-foot office tower, a $650-millionsecuritization was completed in a deal that also involved asimilarly-sized issue of Liberty Bonds.

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Click here for the WSJ article on the BOP deal.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.