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CHICAGO-Wrightwood Capital, based here, is expanding its origination platform to loans up to $100 million. Sam Bluso has been hired as the senior director for capital markets to assist in the expansion, says Mary Briggs, managing director of capital markets for Wrightwood. “Typically, Wrightwood is a middle market lender and, typically, we have made loans up to approximately $35 million,” Briggs says.

Wrightwood decided to begin offering the larger loans in addition to the middle market loans of up to $35 million. “We wanted to be able to expand our products to our current customers and to new customers as we grow our business,” Briggs says. Additionally, “We saw a market opportunity in terms of growth of the business to bring the same structured finance and structured capital to slightly larger loans.” Wrightwood will be “selling partial interest in loans we originate” to limit the amount of equity Wrightwood invests to a maximum of $50 million. “We will limit our own exposure on any one loan to $35 million, or maybe as much as $50 million, if it is deemed a lower risk loan,” she says.

Bluso is leaving EuroHypo AG where he was a director in the syndications group for real estate banking. Wrightwood needed to hire additional people to expand the program because “We needed to add somebody who had experience in distribution,” Briggs says. Bluso and his team had been responsible for more than $12 billion in real estate syndications during the past three years. He had previously served as vide president of syndicated finance for Keybanc Capital Markets. “He clearly understood who the buyers would be in terms of selling participations in our loans. He also understood the structuring requirements of those loans,” Briggs says.

The company recently did a $90-million loan for a multi-asset portfolio in San Antonio “and we are syndication half of the interest in that loan to another lender,” Briggs said. The portfolio included the 160,191-sf Travis Park Plaza at 711 Navarro St., a class A office building. Wrightwood syndicated seven loans last year as well, she says. The company has had more than 350 financings of more than $3.5 billion to more than 150 borrowers.

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