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WASHINGTON, DC-CWCapital’s newly launched construction lending platform has come out of the gate with two transactions totaling $252 million in financing — one of which is in the DC area. According to Kent Daiber, senior managing director of the structured finance division, the firm provided financing to a joint venture between IBG Partners in Washington, DC and an outside developer to construct the Yale Steam Laundry condominiums, to be located on 437 New York Ave., NW.

Daiber tells GlobeSt.com he has another large deal in the pipeline of $100 million as well as a $40-million industrial transaction in New York in the works. In the DC area, he says, “we are looking at a quasi construction project for a couple of hotels.”

Daiber says he expects to do more lending in the DC market as the unit’s operations get under way. “DC is a market everyone wants to be in irrespective of the property type.” The downside to the market, he adds, is that it is competitive and, hence, difficult to find yield. “We will probably want to digest the condo exposure we have taken on before we do another condo project there.”

CWCapital is seeking to differentiate itself from other construction lenders by offering financing at higher leverages on non-recourse loans than the usual 70% to 75%. “We are comfortable in the 80% to 85% range,” Daiber says. “We are a yield-driven–not a volume-driven–shop. But I would not be surprised if we don’t do between $300 million to $500 million over the next six months.”

He hopes a good portion of that will go into the DC market, but refuses to commit to a breakdown of his projected lending portfolio. “We are very bullish on DC; it is inconceivable to be overexposed here. But, again, it is very competitive and getting deals in this market can be a challenge.”

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