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DALLAS-Perseverance and the ability to shift gears quickly pay off for Poynter-Scifres of Ft. Worth and its financing agent, Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP, closing two loans for a combined $12.5 million on office properties in Grapevine and Arlington. It wasn’t an easy feat and took considerably longer than usual due to the capital markets and post-Sept. 11 events, Drew Kiesling, director of Dallas-based Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, tells GlobeSt.com.

Kiesling has nothing but praise for lenders Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Mortgage Capital Inc. of New York City and GE Capital of Stamford, CT in holding firm to spreads to consummate permanent loans on office properties in a climate that’s been anything but calm. The 50,190-sf Offices @ Grapevine Parkway I, located at 2550 SW Grapevine Parkway, secured a loan for a little more than $5.4 million with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter while the 87,018-sf 1600 Lamar in Arlington mortared a $7.1-million loan through GE Capital.

The deals started in May and just closed. “We couldn’t have picked a worse time to embark on this process,” Kiesling says. “It’s a difficult environment to get anything done today, particularly office properties. It took about twice as long as it ideally would have.”

The 10-year loans went through on a locked 7 1/4% interest rate and 30-year amortization. The Offices @ Grapevine Parkway I carried a 75% LTV while 1600 Lamar had an 80% LTV. In both instances, says Kiesling, the deals couldn’t have been cut at their sought loan amounts “if we’d be going to the streets today. Obtaining full leverage on office building transactions is increasingly difficult.”

The loans went under application “just before the capital markets started to become more restrictive from an underwriting standpoint,” he explained. “Any deals in the process through that time period received increased scrutiny as lender concerns increased relative to the state of the capital markets.” The short of it is that the deals are now done and everyone’s wiping their brows.

The Offices @ Grapevine Parkway I refinancing was further stymied by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter’s Dallas office shutdown in midstream of the loan processing and oversight shift to New York City. Then came Sept. 11. “Both lenders did an admirable job to hold the deals together through all the turmoil,” Kiesling emphasized. Ben Nummy was the Morgan Stanley Dean Witter loan officer and Marion Hicks, GE Capital’s loan officer on the deal. Dallas-based Valcor Partners is the equity investor on both deals in partnership with Poynter-Scifres.

The Offices @ Grapevine Parkway I, built in 2000, is 94% leased. 1600 Lamar is a 21-year-old office building that is 95% occupied. The Poynter-Scifres 1999 acquisition underwent a top-to-bottom renovation to convert it into a multi-tenant building from its single-user headquarters site of the Association of Milk Producers Inc.

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