Monday, December 14, 2009

For FCE, are commercial mortgage loan defaults vexing--or just playing chicken?

From Crain's Cleveland Business, in an article headlined Commercial mortgage loan defaults vexing:
One of the nation's realty titans, Forest City Enterprises Inc. in Cleveland, talks about negotiations with lenders over debts in such a way that it sounds like a game of who blinks first. The multibillion-dollar property owner says it's willing to give back properties when it cannot get suitable terms.

CEO Charles Ratner, in a Dec. 10 conference call with securities analysts, said Forest City works with lenders to adjust mortgages for underperforming properties. He said conducting such talks are a benefit of Forest City's 50-year history developing and managing properties from Cleveland to other parts of the country.
Well, as I reported, working with" sounds like some tough negotiation.

From the call

Forest City officials were asked why they had delayed a $5 million payment on a loan for land in the Atlantic Yards footprint: “I’m wondering what your negotiations are with the lender. Are you trying to get a lower interest rate? Are you trying to get them reduce the size of the mortgage? And how does that impact the potential close of the project?”

Chuck Ratner said they didn’t want to discuss a specific negotiation

Forest City Ratner's Joanne Minieri added, “The lender group on our land loan has been very supportive and has been working with us in connection with making sure that this project occurs as planned.”

The loan would have had to have been renegotiated--or extended--last week.

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