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BROOMFIELD, CO-Jim Cobb Jr., director of the L.J. Melody & Co. put together what is likely the largest commercial real estate loan for a single property in the Denver area. Cobb, working with Doug Mueller of L.J. Melody’s Phoenix office, arranged a $180-million permanent loan on the 836,295-sf FlatIron Crossing regional mall that opened last year in Broomfield.

CIGNA Investments made the loan on behalf of FlatIron’s developer, Phoenix-based Westcor Development.

The loan replaces construction loans made by several banks led by Bank of America, Cobb says.

”I know the Park Meadows (regional mall) loan was for north of $100 million, but it wasn’t as much as $180 million,” Cobb tells GlobeSt.com.

In 1999, Commonwealth Partners, acting on behalf of the California Employees’ Retirement Systems paid $208.5 million for One Norwest Center in the Central Business District, but the loan wasn’t for that amount.

”We did that deal and it was for $100 million,” Cobb says. ”They put a lot of equity into it.”

The One Norwest Center sale likely was the only one that could have challenged FlatIron for the record.

”If you look at the Tech Center, a top office building goes for $60 million or $70 million at the top,” Cobb tells GlobeSt.com. ”I can’t think of another single asset that was as large.”

Eric Tupler, of Denver’s L.J. Melody’s office, agrees.

”This is a pretty big deal,” Tupler says. ”I’m sure there has never been a bigger loan made for a single asset.”

Both Tupler and Cobb say that a few of the huge portfolio sales of a few years ago may have carried higher loans.

The CIGNA transaction is a floating rate deal with a five-year term, Cobb says.

”We were working on the loan for months, and it closed after Sept. 11, which I think is significant,” Cobb says. ”A lot of lenders have kind of sat on the sidelines since Sept. 11. It shows that CIGNA has confidence in the Denver market. It’s also a very good deal for Westcor.”

L.J. Melody is exclusive correspondent for CIGNA.

”CIGNA is probably the most dominant mall lender in the country,” Cobb explains. ”CIGNA has no satellite mortgage correspondents, so we sort of act as their eyes and ears and analyze deals locally for them. I think Westcor was sort of giving us one shot to do the deal with CIGNA, because they know of our direct relationship with CIGNA.”

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