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PHILADELPHIA-Grasso Holdings has obtained a nearly $22.5-million first-mortgage bridge loan to kick off pre-development of its $315-million mixed-use complex. The funding is secured by the 2.1-acre parcel for the full-block project at 1601 Vine St. in Center City.

New York City-based Hudson Realty Capital LLC provided the loan, which Spencer Garfield, HRC’s managing director, says has a 12-month term. “Grasso had a short timeframe to buy out an existing partner, retire existing debt and pay for pre-development,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “This is our second deal with Grasso, and because we think highly of the company and the project, we were able to meet their needs quickly. That the city is behind the project and it is primarily rental also gave comfort.” He declined to disclose the interest rate, but says, “We charge slightly more than for a conventional loan in exchange for getting the deal done quickly.”

The opening phase of the project consists of a 46-story tower with 126,700 sf of retail, a 250-room hotel on the first 15 stories, topped by 260 residential units of which 210 will be rental and 40 for sale. When the project was announced this October, David Grasso, president and CEO of the locally based development company, told GlobeSt.com that Whole Foods has committed to a 60,000-sf space, and Best Buy to a 45,000-sf store above Whole Foods. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this spring.

HRC’s earlier transaction with Grasso was for Valley Square, a mixed-used development in Warrington that broke ground in fall 2004. “That was a mezzanine loan, and was repaid in accordance with the initial business plan,” Garfield says.

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