Urban Mosaic is restoring a city in ruins, and restoring faith in its residents

On behalf of all of us at UC Funds and The Palmier Foundation, our prayers go out to those affected by the recent earthquake in Mexico City that left the area in ruins.

One of the groups on the ground working toward recovery is the Urban Mosaic team, which is helping to clear the debris and demolish unsafe structures posing security risks. The organization is also offering emotional and psychological support to victims of the quake—and training others to do so, too.

Urban Mosaic, a non-profit organization dedicated to faith-based support and leadership, has been doing important work in Mexico City and other areas for the last 10 years. Urban Mosaic’s mission is to transform urban slums in the poorest locations through education, faith-based support programs, and public health improvement projects. Its goals are ambitious, and the work it’s doing today is helping Mexico City not only to rebuild, but to recover from its trauma.

We’re so pleased to announce that The Palmier Foundation has donated to Urban Mosaic’s current capital campaign, Centro Renovar. It’s another extremely deserving cause, and contributing to its growth means a lot to us.

Centro Renovar will be a retreat and training center for Mexico City’s urban-based pastors and other faith-based community leaders. Its goal is to offer the tools, training, and support these mentors require to provide emotional and spiritual guidance to those who need it most. After an entire city’s population is traumatized, we realize just how valuable this kind of leadership is, and it’s inspiring to see this work in action.

To see how Urban Mosaic is aiding those in need in wake of the earthquake’s devastation, follow updates on its Facebook page, and please consider donating to its efforts. Your contribution can help Urban Mosaic rent the equipment to continue its work clearing debris and making the city livable again.

“Helping those who are underserved is one of the most rewarding experiences in my life,” said Daniel Palmier, CEO of UC Funds. “I’m blessed to be able to give to those who don’t have the opportunities for education, safety, and the comforts of daily life many of us take for granted. And I’m grateful to be able to aid those who are on the ground, doing the heavy lifting. The workers are in my thoughts and prayers. I have faith the city will be restored, and that its residents will be able to find peace in this difficult time.”

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Emerald Greens kicks off Gulf Shores’ Annual Shrimp Festival

It’s that time of year in Gulf Shores, Alabama! The 46th Annual National Shrimp Festival has arrived. Our property Emerald Greens, soon to be rebranded as One Club Gulf Shores, is hosting a kickoff party at the Clubhouse pool tonight from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. CDT. Neighbors and friends will gather to enjoy delicious low country boil, shrimp gumbo, and drink specials.

Our get-together is the perfect way to start celebrating Shrimp Fest, which begins on the beach in Gulf Shores tomorrow, October 12. Gulf Shores’ locals and visitors can enjoy tasty seafood while listening to a diverse selection of live music and perusing 200 booths of fine arts and crafts.

Tasty shrimp dishes will be served by the plenty at Gulf Shores’ 46th Annual National Shrimp Festival (Photo credit: myshrimpfest.com)

50 local and regional food vendors are set to line the boardwalk at the public beach, offering a wide assortment of mouth-watering shrimp dishes. Some of the area’s best chefs will present samples of their award winning recipes at scheduled tasting times during the three day event. Thanks to the festival’s generous sponsors: Zatarain’s, Organized Seafood Association of Alabama, Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission, and Wind Creek Casino, 200 pounds of shrimp will be prepared per day, so there will be no shortage of options to feast on!

Other happenings include Outdoor World, which will have fishing, boating, hunting, and other outdoor vendors and activities. The festival is also hosting Singing for Scholarships, a competition featuring high school singers from seven local schools who will compete in elimination rounds, determining three scholarship winners. Additionally, to the delight of car lovers, a selection of the new Chevrolet models will be on display.

Endless entertainment options are in store for the many Shrimp Fest attendees (Photo credit: myshrimpfest.com)

A variety of family-friendly activities are also planned, including the Annual Sand Sculpture Contest on Saturday, as well as karaoke, crafts, and more.

Runners and walkers are invited to participate in the 10K and 5K races, a great chance to work off a few crustacean calories. All net proceeds of the run will be donated to Coastal Baldwin Education Enrichment, benefiting the local Gulf Shores and Orange Beach public schools.

For those in the Gulf Shores area, be sure to visit our Emerald Greens Clubhouse tonight as we begin the festivities, and don’t forget to stop by Shrimp Fest. The event runs from Thursday, October 12 through Sunday, October 15. With over 300,000 people expected to attend, the festival exemplifies the vibrant sense of community in Gulf Shores.

Emerald Greens starts the Shrimp Fest celebration at our Clubhouse pool tonight!

Click here to view the official Shrimp Festival program.

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The Asian Christian Academy expresses gratitude at their groundbreaking celebration

Wednesday, September 27 marked the groundbreaking ceremony for the first building of the Asian Christian Academy (ACA) College of Arts and Sciences in Bangalore, India. 200 attendees turned out for the event, including staff, students, and visitors to the campus.

The ACA, along with 200 guests, broke ground for the first building of their new college in Bangalore.

President of the ACA Dr. Joy George began with a speech about his vision for the college. Carey Childrey, Leadership Developer at Paraclete Mission Group later said a prayer for the college, and Neill Faucett, a good friend of UC Funds and Managing Principle at Lubert Adler Real Estate Group, broke ground.

The College of Arts and Sciences will be the first Christian college of its kind in the India. The ACA hopes to start student enrollment in July 2018, with the first buildings expected to reach completion by July 2019.

UC Funds is a longtime partner of the ACA, which provides post-graduate theological training and Christian education in India. The Palmier Foundation recently donated a total of $325,000 to the ACA, $100,000 of which went directly to the construction and opening of the college.

Dr. Joy George made the day especially poignant by announcing the college’s academic block will be named “The Daniel Palmier Center for Academic Studies.” The three buildings will host the first set of classes, laboratories and offices for the first group of college programs.

Daniel Palmier, CEO of UC Funds said, “September 27 was a significant day for students across India who will soon be able to learn about Christianity under incredible educators. Having these buildings dedicated in my name is an honor I will always carry with me.”

Dr. Joy George offered gratitude for Daniel Palmier’s donation to the college with a special dedication.

“This is our first opportunity to truly recognize Daniel Palmier’s contribution to our work here,” said Dr. Stephen George, Vice President of the Asian Christian Academy. “The Palmier Foundation has partnered with us for many projects. Daniel was the first donor to offer support for this vision, and it was an overdue honor to name the first college buildings after him.”

The groundbreaking was a great milestone for The Palmier Foundation and UC Funds. We share the ACA’s dream of establishing a Christian college campus, and our contribution helps to ensure this dream comes to fruition.

“We believe our endeavor will have a wide and long lasting impact on Bangalore’s community and the region,” continued Dr. Stephen George. “We’re so grateful for The Palmier Foundation’s involvement.”

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My two worlds work as one to support Hurricane Harvey relief

The Palmier Foundation recently contributed to Houston’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by donating $1,000 on behalf of my Alabama property Emerald Greens, soon to be rebranded to One Club Gulf Shores. This money will help with kit preparation for people displaced by the flooding, and will include socks, blankets, toiletry kits, sheets, pillows, pet supplies, and much more, which will be distributed through Hatching Hope of Alabama, a foundation based in Birmingham, Alabama.

Our work with Hatching Hope of Alabama will bring relief to many individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey (Photo Credit: abc7chicago.com)

Co-Founded by Keli Lynch-Wright and her son Ashton Wright, Hatching Hope of Alabama works to assist victims of disasters in the apartment industry, by picking up and delivering donations to those affected, and spreading the word. The organization aims to unite communities and make a difference for those in need.

Hatching Hope of Alabama donates necessities to disaster victims who have lost their apartments

It’s wonderful seeing my two worlds come together by doing something positive for the community. Having Gulf Shore’s One Club team up with The Palmier Foundation has allowed us to provide Hatching Hope of Alabama with a donation that will further assist people who have been displaced from their apartment homes. I’ve worked with Keli Lynch-Wright for many years, and am proud to contribute to her foundation’s charitable efforts.

Gulf Shore’s One Club worked with The Palmier Foundation by contributing $1,000 to Hatching Hope’s hurricane relief efforts

As Houston residents work towards recovery, I’m inspired by the outpouring of goodwill the city has seen, and feel honored to be a part of it.

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Emerald Greens starts the fall giving season by supporting those in need

The string of natural disasters over the past few months have left catastrophic results, and I’m contributing to relief efforts in any way I can.

The latest contribution will be made through my Alabama property, Emerald Greens. To kick off the fall season, I’ve donated a selection of golf merchandise to the property’s Pro Shop. I’m encouraging golfers to stop by and build up their supplies. They can choose various items from top brands like Callaway, TaylorMade, and more. For every dollar of merchandise bought, The Palmier Foundation will match the purchase value. All donations will go to victims from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the terrible devastation of the recent earthquake in Mexico City, and the needs for Hurricane Harvey and Irma victims rebuilding in our neighboring states. 

Daniel Palmier and The Palmier Foundation donates merchandise to the Pro Shop at Emerald Greens to raise money for natural disaster relief efforts

I hope residents of Gulf Shores will visit the Pro Shop to pick out some new golf gear, and feel proud knowing they’re helping people in dire need. There’s nothing more important than giving back, and it matters now more than ever.

Golfers at Emerald Greens can hit the course with new supplies, knowing they’ve helped those in need

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$100,000 donation from The Palmier Foundation helps the Asian Christian Academy build its first college

It’s here.

Today marks the groundbreaking ceremony for the first building of the Asian Christian Academy (ACA) College of Arts and Sciences in Bangalore, India. It will be the first Christian college of its kind in the country. And in less than a year, students will begin to enroll for classes. More than 2,000 are expected to attend in the future.

UC Funds has long been involved with the ACA, which provides post-graduate theological training and Christian education in India. Recently, The Palmier Foundation was able to donate a total of $325,000 to the ACA, $100,000 of which went directly to the construction and opening of this college.

A bird’s eye view of the new college’s site in Bangalore

Dr. Stephen George, Vice President of the Asian Christian Academy, said of a previous donation from the Foundation to the ACA: “The Palmier Foundation has been instrumental in helping us expand our Asian Christian High School to grow from 2,200 to its current size of 3,300 students. The school has not only grown in size but also in reputation as an institution focused on high quality K-12 education.” The tremendous success of the high school since it opened in 1997 was one of the primary inspirations behind the ACA’s decision to establish the college.

Daniel Palmier, CEO of UC Funds said, “I’m both awed and grateful that I have the good fortune of giving to such a deserving organization. There are literally a billion people in India that will have the opportunity for a top flight education and to be taught Christianity from top scholars and theologians. That UC Funds could be part of the ACA’s long-standing dream of establishing a Christian college campus is a dream for us, too. Our donation will help establish the necessary infrastructure as well as a class room and educational design to foster ACA’s curriculum and mission.”

At more than 96,000 square feet, the facility will be located on a scenic 22-acre location on the outskirts of Bangalore, featuring:

  • More than 35,000 square feet of classroom space
  • 12 lecture halls
  • 24,450 square feet of administrative space, including a pavilion on the ground floor, computer labs and more
  • An 8,000+-square-foot basement for recreation
  • Leisure Halls and rest areas on the first and second floors totaling 20,540 square feet
  • A 16,660-square-foot indoor court

There is a real need for more—and better quality—private higher education in India, and the ACA’s new college will do just that. Of the organization’s goals, Dr. George said, “We hope to develop a college with a holistic approach to human development that will shape the next generation of leaders in India. We have an opportunity to offer an education that is uniquely holistic and grounded in our Christian ethos.”

The first incoming class is expected July 2018. The teams at The Palmier Foundation and UC Funds can’t wait to hear about the first graduating class. We’re honored to help the ACA make such a positive impact on so many lives.

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Stamford’s Newest Hot Spot Bar Zepoli Hosts VIP Grand Opening

On Thursday, September 7, The Courtyard Stamford Downtown in Stamford, Connecticut, held the much anticipated VIP Grand Opening of Bar Zepoli, a New York-style Italian bar and grill, located at 75 Broad Street, on the ground floor of the Courtyard.

Bar Zepoli offers guests an Italian dining experience mixed with a bit of New York flare.

UC Funds acquired the Courtyard by Marriot Hotel in October 2016 knowing that the restaurant was planned and would be a perfect addition, given that the hotel is located on Stamford’s restaurant row, within walking distance of the best dining destinations in the area. UC Funds has garnered a great deal of experience in retail development, and our intricate knowledge of the industry made this acquisition a great fit. We understand the value that restaurants like Bar Zepoli add to popular, high traffic locations such as downtown Stamford, and always strive to capitalize on these opportunities.

Bar Zepoli’s Grand Opening celebration included a fun-filled ribbon cutting attended by Stamford locals and officials, including Mayor David Martin. The group was thrilled to have a first look at the city’s latest Italian eatery.

Stamford’s mayor David Martin, along with other excited attendees had a great time making the opening official.

Our recent $2 million+ renovation of The Courtyard has been a massive success thanks to the extensive upgrades and revitalized accommodations. I expect that Bar Zepoli will greatly add to the community’s excitement surrounding the dramatic changes to the hotel.

The property’s new addition offers a wide range of Italian-American fare, including pizza, steaks, seafood, and wings. The restaurant provides indoor and outdoor dining, a 14-stool bar, and will host live jazz and show video performances, from legends such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, on flat-screen televisions in the bar.

Mayor David Martin and fellow Stamford residents enjoyed Bar Zepoli’s unique atmosphere and cuisine.

After such a terrific grand opening, I’m very much looking forward to making Bar Zepoli one of my Stamford dining staples.

We have another project underway in Stamford as well. In May we acquired the Residence Inn Marriott for $40 million. The Residence Inn is located at 23 Atlantic Street, just down the road from the Courtyard. This is a long languishing asset in tremendous need of redevelopment, and we can’t wait to debut the revitalization in the coming months. We know Stamford’s residents will be thrilled with the outcome.

The success of Stamford’s downtown area makes it a perfect market for redevelopment, and we look forward to participating in many more projects as the city continues to grow.

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Five tips on how Houston can start to rebuild

Hurricane Harvey has rocked Texas, causing billions of dollars in construction damage. As cities start to rebuild, it’s our duty to help business owners get back on their feet.

UC Funds has a long history of investing in Houston’s commercial real estate, with over $150 million invested over the past four years. These projects span all property types, from two Holiday Inns, the Heights Medical Office Plaza, and multifamily buildings including Avery Park Apartments, Barcelona Apartments, Sorrel Apartments and Waterstone Apartments, among others.

Now that the flood waters are receding, are you ready to build? Here are five tips on what to do:

  1. Assess the situation. Document everything for insurance through pictures and reports. The number of insurance claims being filed is staggering, and having all the correct documentation and property damage visuals will help ensure your claim gets approved faster.
  2. Resolve all safety issues. Especially in the case of multifamily properties, it’s paramount to make sure that all steps are taken to ensure the safety of families and tenants that are either still in the property or are trying to get back into the property to retrieve any belongings.
  3. Keep all communication lines open. For owners not in the immediate region, have property managers give you daily reports on the events of the day. These should detail any further damage, emergency assistance, recovery efforts, or insurance steps that have been completed.
  4. Contact an emergency services company. There are specific businesses dedicated to helping large-scale owners get back on their feet. For example, our Alabama properties prepared for Hurricane Harvey by enlisting the services of Delta Disaster Services. Companies like these are dedicated to property restoration, whether damage is from fires, floods, or environmental issues.
  5. Apply for financing. Willing financers are key to rebuilding the Houston area. The faster the money flows in, the quicker the region gets back on their feet. Evaluate the pros and cons of applying for financing at a bank or a capital solutions providers. Companies like UC Funds are usually at an advantage as we can approve and deploy capital faster and at more attractive rates than a typical bank.

To put our money where our mouth is, my non-profit organization, The Palmier Foundation, is donating $1,000 on behalf of our Alabama property Emerald Greens to go towards Houston’s relief efforts. This money will help with kit preparation for people displaced by the flooding, and will include socks, blankets, toiletry kits, sheets, pillows, pet supplies, etc., which will be distributed through Hatching Hope of Alabama.

If you are a commercial real estate owner in need of financing, the UC Funds team will be in Houston in September and October. We would love to meet with those that have any financing needs for either existing or new properties in the region.

Our new UC GO product is particularly helpful in crises where funds are needed quickly. UC GO is the most competitive commercial mortgage product available. The non-recourse commercial mortgage bridge loan is now available at 85 percent LTV and 0.5 debt service coverage ratio. The variable rate non-recourse product, which starts at LIBOR +350, is available for loans as little as $5 million.

To apply for our financing, contact Domenico Manago at 857-288-2811 or dmanago@ucfunds.com.

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UC Funds Announces a New $10.8M Closing in the Illustrious Westchester County

UC Funds recently closed an incredible deal on a large scale redevelopment in the exclusive county of Westchester, New York. We’ve provided a $10.8 million first mortgage loan for the conversion and expansion of an existing building in Dobbs Ferry, an upscale village in the region. The Owner and General Contractor, our good friend Bart Blatt, Founder and President of BRB Construction Services, LLC., is sponsoring the project along with Co-Owner Cinta DelMonaco-Kemp, Founding Partner at AltB Partners.

The current building was constructed in 1896 and acted as a grain storage site, a shoe factory and a hardware store before becoming the headquarters of Oceana Publications in 1965. In 2005 it was bought by a developer planning to renovate the interior for multifamily, before being acquired by Blatt and DelMonaco-Kemp in 2016. It is now set to be converted into 18 luxury condos with street-level retail. The retail space is situated on both Main and Chestnut Streets in Dobbs Ferry. The 1,527-square-foot Main Street space has already been leased by At Land, an up-and-coming coffee and retail shop. Dobbs Ferry will be their first location, and they took occupancy on September 1. We expect the Chestnut Street space to be leased within the next six months.

The conveniently located Dobbs Ferry asset will consist of 18 luxury units with street-level retail

The 18 Class A units (we like to think of them as AAA) will have amenities appealing to anyone looking for a location near the water, with ten of the units offering views that are to the west and southwest of the Hudson River. Two of the ten will be equipped with balconies, and the remaining eight will have patios. Construction of the units will most likely be completed within 10 months, with a 10 to 11 month sell-out schedule.

Westchester County has recently seen a lack of new condo development, which is what makes Dobbs Ferry a prime market. The family-friendly suburb is known to attract individuals looking for a quiet town offering easy access to downtown Manhattan. Our Dobbs Ferry asset is only five minutes from Dobbs Ferry Station, offering commuters a quick 35-minute trek to Manhattan on the Metro-North Railroad’s Hudson Line. The convenient location, along with the asset’s high-end units and competitive pricing will be extremely appealing to empty-nesters ready for something smaller, and growing families hoping to find two bedroom condos within close proximity to the city.

The idyllic village of Dobbs Ferry appeals to those in search of a quiet suburb just outside Manhattan

Having worked with Bart on previous projects, we’re extremely confident in his ability to build in-demand projects such as this. This, combined with Cinta’s sharp attention to detail, will undoubtedly yield the type of high-end asset that perfectly fits this market, and the team at UC Funds looks forward to seeing the outcome of their hard work.

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East 9 at Pickwick Plaza Brings a Hint of Luxury to Kansas City, Missouri

UC Funds recently celebrated the opening of East 9 at Pickwick Plaza, in Kansas City, Missouri, and we’re delighted at the levels of excitement for this luxury apartment and retail community. We worked closely with the sponsor, Gold Crown Properties, Inc., structuring a $30 million first mortgage loan for the project, with a total of $57 million capital stack.

Four buildings, which take up an entire city block, were redeveloped over the course of 22 months. Construction is now complete, resulting in an incredible renovation. East 9 at Pickwick Plaza consists of more than 35,000 square feet of retail space, located directly under 260 apartments. 80 percent of the immaculately finished units are roughly 500 square feet in size.

The building itself is fully amenitized. The beautiful lobby is adorned with locally-sourced artwork, as well as ornate chandeliers, sconces, and signage, crafted by Kansas City’s own Joe Munson. Residents will have access to a year-round heated and cool soft water pool, a wine locker and tasting area, and a 6,000-square-foot gym with first class equipment. The Harry Truman Living Room is a warm and relaxing common area with a pool table and a full kitchen. There is also an event dining space available, which fits up to 30 people.

Video Credit: www.GoThirdrail.com

East 9 at Pickwick Plaza is a phenomenal addition to Kansas City, already attracting millennials looking for access to such a centrally located luxury residence. We expect the asset to spur increased development throughout the area, and applaud Tom Smith, President of Gold Crown Properties, on this significant accomplishment.

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