Commercial Real Estate: Looming crisis or are fears overblown? – the John Hancock Tower deal vs. Stuyvesant/Peter Cooper. One worked, one failed.

Boston’s John Hancock Tower, a 62 story glass skyscraper in Boston’s Back Bay was one of the first commercial real estate trophies to run into trouble when the speculative property boom abruptly ended some two years ago or so, according to the NY Times, December 30, 2010, article "A Real Estate Trophy In Boston is Sold", by Charles V. Bagli.

Bought at foreclosure sale 18 months ago for some $660.6 million, it was just recently sold for $930 million.

Commercial buildings have recovered some value.

In 2009, the owner had defaulted on 472.1 million in secondary loans, but the first mortgage remained current. The secondary loans were bought for about 30 cents on the dollar.

At the foreclosure, Normandy/Five Mile were the sole bidders on the second mortgage, paying about $20 million and taking on the senior mortgage.

The Hancock Tower had been valued at $1.35 billion in a 2006 purchase, more than double the 2003 valuation incident to a then sale, at $639 million. 82% of the purchase price was debt in the 2006 purchase.

Not all commercial properties have recovered so well. A similar attempted workout of Manhattan high rise apartments known as Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village failed, and the properties are now controlled by senior lenders through CW Capital. William A. Ackman of Persing Square Capital Management and Michael L. Ashner of Winthrop Realty Trust failed to gain control of the large complex, after investing $300 million in secondary debt for $45 million.

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