ROXBURY, NJ – The proposed Shops at Ledgewood Commons mall “is set to move forward” thanks to a $72.5 million construction loan, it was announced today.

The financing, through Santander Bank, was arranged by Cushman & Wakefield’s Equity, Debt and Structured Finance (EDSF) team, according to a statement from Cushman & Wakefield.

“With a $72.5 million construction loan in place, the redevelopment of The Shops at Ledgewood Commons …  is set to move forward,” said the company, noting it struck the deal “on behalf of the retail property’s ownership,” affiliates of Advance Realty Investors.

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The statement quoted EDSF member John Alascio as saying that, “while financing retail centers can be challenging in the current climate, quality assets and experienced sponsors still garner strong demand from a subset of lenders.”

Alascio cited EDSF’s “strong lender relationships and deal flow volume” as being key elements in securing the deal. Alascio headed the assignment and was joined by Sridhar Vankayala, TJ Sullivan and Zachary Kraft, according to the company.

Several Banks from Which to Choose

“During the marketing process, we secured competitive interest from a number of banks and debt funds and ultimately selected Santander based on its clear understanding of the redevelopment and ability to provide the attractive terms and flexibility necessary to complete the project,” Alascio said in the statement.

The statement also quoted Alex Cocoziello, of Advance Realty Investors.

“We could not be more pleased with our team’s collective execution on this financing and we greatly look forward to the revitalization of this once thriving mall,” said Cocoziello. “Once complete, this center will serve as the model for how struggling retail centers, through great partnerships and creativity, can be successfully repositioned.”

Vankayala said lenders took note of the work on the project already completed, including the securing of prospective tenants for the 470,000-square-foot mall. The main anchor of the center will be a new Walmart Supercenter to be built on the site of the former Ledgewood Walmart, which has been razed.

“The ownership has already added significant value to Ledgewood Commons via strong pre-leasing and re-commitment from existing tenants, which speaks volumes to the strength of the center,” Vankayala said. “Coupled with robust market and consumer demographics, this gave potential lenders comfort and enabled them to appreciate the center’s potential to transform into a vibrant retail power center anchored by credit tenants.”

The developers are converting the former Ledgewood Mall – a “traditional mall” that had stores connected with interior walkways – into a mall that will have exterior entrances for all tenants, similar to the nearby Roxbury Mall.

“As retail trends continue to move away from traditional malls, Ledgewood Commons is positioned to thrive in the modern retail environment as a premier open-air retail destination,” said Vankayala in the statement.

Cushman & Wakefield described its EDSF as “a leading advisor of state-of-the-art financing and equity structuring, with a demonstrated track record for completing mid-market and large, complex transactions at exceptional terms.”

It said the EDSF executed nearly $12 billion in 2018, including “debt and equity for acquisitions, refinancings, recapitalizations and loan sales and capital solutions for senior and subordinate debt, as well as limited partner and general partner equity.”

More TAPinto Roxbury coverage of The Shops at Ledgewood Commons”

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