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CAMDEN, NJ-FleetBoston Financial’s Real Estate Finance Group has arranged a construction and interim financing package totaling $30 million for the Victor Building redevelopment project at the corner of Market and Delaware Streets on the waterfront here. The former RCA Victor manufacturing facility, recently listed on both the National and New Jersey historic registry lists, is being converted to loft-style apartments and ground-floor retailing by the Philadelphia-based Dranoff Properties.

Considered a focal point for this city’s waterfront redevelopment, the 341-unit luxury residential project “will become a magnet for continued redevelopment of Camden,” says T. Joseph Semrod, chairman of Fleet’s New Jersey and Pennsylvania region. “Our participation in this project solidifies our commitment to Camden.”

Although work is already under way on the conversion project, the developer conducted its official groundbreaking ceremony here yesterday afternoon. Fleet’s financial package, joined by United Bank of Philadelphia, the Community Preservation Corp. (the New York-based organization has its New Jersey offices in Jersey City) and Wilmington Trust of Pennsylvania, is said to be the largest private financing on a residential development in Camden.

Fleet has, in fact, become a key financial player in this troubled South Jersey city’s redevelopment process, beginning a year ago with a $750,000 grant to Camden’s Community Renaissance Initiative. That money went toward redevelopment planning in the city’s Cooper’s Ferry and Cramer Hill neighborhoods, and Fleet has also invested in several residential development projects in the city.

“Our commitment to community real estate finance in this market area is significant,” according to Philip G. Grossman, senior vice president at Fleet, New Jersey’s largest retail bank. “Since 1998, more than $250 million in fleet financing in New Jersey and Pennsylvania has made possible the construction of some 4,000 units of affordable housing and creation of more than 400,000 sf of non-residential commercial development.”

The overall waterfront redevelopment plan for Camden, meanwhile, has a number of key players, including the city and Camden County, the locally-based Campbell Soup Co., RCA, Cooper Hospital and the Delaware River Port Authority.

For its part, Dranoff Properties, headed by president Carl Dranoff, has been involved in a number of revitalization projects in the region, most of them on the other side of the Delaware River in metro Philadelphia. “In breathing new life into old buildings, our properties become forces in the revitalization of urban neighborhoods,” Dranoff says.

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