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TORONTO-The recent $310 million refinancing of First Canadian Place here illustrates that funding is available for the right office properties despite the general difficulties facing the office market worldwide. But not all office properties are so lucky, as shown by the distress in some properties that has led to defaults, foreclosures and receiverships.

In the case of First Canadian Place, Brookfield Properties Corp. and its Canadian-based subsidiary, BPO Properties Ltd., along with ownership partners Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Alberta Investment Management Corp., refinanced the 72-story, 2.7-million-square-foot office and retail complex in the heart of Toronto’s central business district with $C310 million, five-year first mortgage bonds. CIBC World Markets Inc. and RBC Dominion Securities Inc. acted as agents on the transaction.

The financing was completed at a fixed rate of 5.367%, with proceeds to be used to repay the existing first mortgage bonds that matured on Dec. 1 and to pay for costs associated with the building’s previously announced renovation program.

Tom Farley, president and CEO of Brookfield’s Canadian Commercial Operations, observed that the financing of such size in a still challenging credit environment “underscores the market’s high regard for premier assets like First Canadian Place.” First Canadian Place, Canada’s tallest office tower, is 95% leased and has been the headquarters of the Bank of Montreal since the building opened in 1975.

Other office financings in recent weeks and months have included a $44 million deal by MRP Realty for its 3101 Wilson Blvd. building in Clarendon, VA and a $34 million refinancing of the 1801 L St. building in Washington, DC by its owners and original developers. In the 3101 Wilson refinancing, MRP Realty secured acquired the building this summer for approximately $72 million in an all-cash deal for the 212,000-square-foot property. The nine-story building, delivered in 2003, is fully leased to a tenant roster including architecture firm DMJM, defense contractor Stanley Associates and Georgetown University.

In the 1801 L St. deal, the three local families that developed and own the building secured permanent financing in the form of a fixed-rate, long-term loan provided by a life insurer, with ?Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers’ Phil Mudd, Christian Miles and Jon Goldstein securing the funds on behalf of Eleven Eighteen Limited Partnership.The 206,181-square-foot buildinghas been the beneficiary of stepped up government activity in the economy, with the Treasury Department leasing 95% of it earlier this year.

In another deal reported on GlobeSt.com, Forest City Enterprises refinanced its property at 45/75 Sydney St. in Cambridge, MA at its University Park Campus, which are twin office buildings connected by a sky-bridge, in a $90 million refi. The loan, from insurance companies Prudential and Cigna, is a seven-year, fixed-rate refi and will be almost a 50% increase in principal over the previous in-place financing. The property is 100% leased to biotech and pharmaceutical companies, as MIT takes no space in the property, which is a combined 277,000 square feet of the total 2.3 million square feet of the University Park space.

The successful refinancings contrast with the problems besetting some office properties, among them assets owned by Los Angeles-based Maguire Properties in Orange County. For example, Maguire’s 2600 Michelson office tower in Irvine is in default and Grubb & Ellis has landed the receivership assignment for the office tower. The 2600 Michelson building is one of six assets in Orange and Los Angeles counties that the L.A.-based REIT has elected to allow to fall into default, according to company public filings.

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