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TORONTO-L.J. Melody is expanding into Canada. The Houston-based real estate banking arm of CB Richard Ellis this year opened two offices in Toronto and Calgary and has plans to open additional offices in Montreal and Vancouver in coming months. The company’s ultimate goal is to have offices nationwide.The expansion is being led by general manager Don Matthews, who earlier this year joined L.J. Melody from Toronto-based portfolio lender CIBC Mortgages, where he was manager of originations. Matthews has been involved in commercial lending in Canada for 25 years. He tells GlobeSt.com he joined LJ Melody to help the company get up and running in Canada and also to work with dozens of lenders as opposed to just one.Already this year, Matthews says L.J. Melody has brokered the largest single asset transaction that Merrill Lynch Canada’s conduit has ever done, a $109-million acquisition loan to a German investment fund that used the funds to acquire 5000 Yonge St., a class A office building in Toronto. LJ Melody’s biggest competition in Canada will be Canada ICI and Montrose Mortgage, both of which have offices nationwide and annually originate over $2 billion and $1 billion in real estate financing transactions, respectively. In addition to sourcing loans for international investors, Matthews says the office is servicing both Canada-based developers as well as its existing U.S. borrower and lender clients, many of whom are either already operating in or having a desire to expand into Canada. In 2003, L.J. Melody generated about $11 billion in real estate financing transactions. It maintains a servicing portfolio of more than 8,000 loans totaling $61 billion through its affiliate, GEMSA Loan Services LP.

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