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BEVERLY HILLS, CA-A joint venture of locally based HDS Group and Ireland’s First Equity Group has secured a $28.85-million senior bridge loan from Connaught Real Estate Finance of Chicago in partnership with Broadway Bank for development of a mixed-use condominium and retail project at 9200 Wilshire Dr. Connaught invested more than $6.8 million in the firstloss position of the senior loan, with Broadway funding the balance.

The JV of HDS Group and First Equity plans to begin construction in the first quarter of 2009 on the project, which will include 44 luxury condominiums and nearly 19,000 sf of retail space on of the last remaining undeveloped sites in Downtown Beverly Hills. The project—within walking distance of the Beverly Hills Golden Triangle—involves three parcels and includes the entire south side of the 9200 block on Wilshire Boulevard between Maple Drive and Palm Drive.

Dan Fowler, chief executive officer of Connaught, notes that the loan closed “despite the difficult conditions in both the real estate and financial markets.” Privately held Connaught focuses on mezzanine debt for mixed use and residential developments, recapitalization of distressed projects and opportunistic investments in projects under market stress.

According to previous reports on GlobeSt.com, the project is part of plans by First Equity to expand its presence on the West Coast, where it is involved in significant other developments, including projects in Southern California. HDS, which was founded by principal Hagop Sargisian, said in a GlobeSt.com report last year that the 9200 Wilshire site represents a rare opportunity to develop in an area where new construction is limited not only by lack of development sites but also by local restrictions on density and building height.

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