NEW YORK CITY-A $1.5-billion debt and equity financing has closed on a 550-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant in Astoria, Queens, JEMB Realty announced Thursday. A JEMB affiliate, JEMB Astoria II, was one of four equity investors in the Astoria Energy II project, which is the second phase of the Astoria Energy facility.

In a release, Morris Bailey of JEMB Astoria II notes that “the $1.1 billion of debt that we raised was from a knowledgeable and sophisticated group of 13 domestic and international commercial bank lenders. In fact, the debt was oversubscribed, indicating how positively this project is viewed in the marketplace.”

Energy Investors Funds, through its United States Power Fund III, is the largest equity investor on a percentage basis in Astoria Energy II, according to published reports. Along with EIF and JEMB Astoria II, the other equity investors are SNC-Lavalin Generation Inc. and Suez Energy Astoria II, a subsidiary of GDF Suez Energy North America, Inc. Approximately $1.1 billion in term-loan and letter of credit financing came from a group of banks including Natixis, WestLB, Export Development Canada, Calyon, Societe Generale Americas Securities, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Union Bank, published reports say. Further financial details were not disclosed.

An SNC-Lavalin affiliate is constructing Astoria Energy II, while Suez Energy Astoria II is providing construction oversight on the project, already under way. It’s scheduled for completion in 2011, and will double the capacity of Astoria Energy, according to a release. The plant will sell power beginning in 2011 to the New York Power Authority under a 20-year tolling agreement that was signed in July 2008.

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