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LOS ANGELES-Astani Enterprises Inc. of Beverly Hills has closed on a $190-million construction loan for the development firm’s Concerto condominium towers in Downtown Los Angeles after switching lenders at the 11th hour because of concerns about one firm’s subprime market problems. Sonny Astani, president of Astani Enterprises, tells GlobeSt.com that the firm was ready to fund the construction loan in January but canceled the nearly completed deal because of concerns that the lender’s problems in its subprime division might interfere with funding of the loan.

Astani then started the loan approval process all over again with a new lender, Chicago-based Corus Bank, which is providing the $190-million construction loan for the first phase of the Concerto development. The Concerto is a 624-unit condominium project comprising two 30-story towers and a six-story building at Figueroa and Ninth streets.

Astani is well under way on construction of the project, which it began in May of 2006 with its own money. Astani tells GlobeSt.com that the firm initially thought that it would have to rely on its own funds only until January or February of this year, when it expected to close the loan with the original lender.

But after canceling the first loan and starting all over, the firm has funded the project construction out of its own pocket until the recent closing of the loan with Corus. Astani explains that the firm continued funding the construction itself to keep the Concerto project on schedule for its expected completion in May of 2009.

Concerto’s condominiums will range from 1,100 sf to 2,500 sf and will consist of only one- and two-bedroom units. In addition to its twin towers and the six-story residential building, the Concerto will include a seven-story subterranean parking structure containing nearly 1,000 spaces, 23,000 sf of retail space, a pool, a spa and a one-acre park.

The $190-million construction loan from Corus is for the first phase of the project, which will include one of the 30-story towers, the six-story building and the parking structure. Construction of the second phase is expected to begin after the first phase is out of the ground and the parking is completed. “The first phase is very front-loaded, which is why this was such a complex deal,” Astani says, explaining that the first phase includes all of the common areas, the parking, the pool and other facilities.

The Concerto development site is steps away from five million sf of class A office towers, Ralphs Market and the $2.5-billion L.A. Live project. In addition to Concerto, Astani Enterprises recently completed and sold out its 200-unit Vero condominiums in Downtown L.A. and has 1,800 units under development in Downtown, Koreatown and Hollywood.

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