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FORT LEE, NJ-A $33-million first mortgage for the fee simple interest in the Hilton Fort Lee is in place, representing a refinancing of an existing mortgage. The Los Angeles-based Sonnenblick-Eichner Co. arranged the deal for the borrower, an investment group which a spokesman for the firm declined to identify.

According to information supplied by Sonnenblick-Eichner, the funding consists of a 10-year, fixed-rate, non-recourse mortgage from a European-based investment bank. The loan payments are interest-only for the first five years of the mortgage.

“The new mortgage refinances a loan that carried a significantly higher interest rate and a shorter amortization schedule,” says Elliott Eichner, a principal of Sonnenblick-Eichner, which specializes in hospitality financing. “The borrower was able to lower the debt service payments, have a five-year period of interest-only payments, and realize pent-up equity as a result of the refinancing.”

Aaron Lerner, a VP of the firm adds “we were able to work through several new underwriting challenges resulting from the recent volatility in the capital markets. By leveraging our relationships with capital providers, we were able to complete this loan without incurring modifications to the terms of the loan during the closing process.”

The Hilton Fort Lee is a 14-story, 237-room property two miles west of Manhattan and near the George Washington Bridge. The hotel includes 7,500 sf of meeting facilities, two restaurants, a lobby lounge and on-site parking for 600 cars.

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