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 New York, an up-and-coming coffee and retail shop based in Brooklyn. This will be their second 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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UC Funds’ New Closing Kicks Off a Major Redevelopment in Minnetonka, Minnesota

We’ve recently closed another extremely notable deal. I’m delighted to announce our investment of $20 million preferred equity for the ground-up construction of RiZe at Opus Park, with a total deal capitalization of approximately $73 million. RiZe, located in Minnetonka, Minnesota, will be converted into a 322 unit, Class A multifamily asset with premier amenity and unit packages, a main clubhouse, and a two story parking garage.

With the first stages of construction now beginning, RiZe at Opus Park will soon come to life

The sponsors, our longtime partners and friends Sal Lecesse of LeCesse Development Corp., and Bob Morgan of Morgan Management, recognized the great potential for redevelopment in the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) area, and jumped at the chance to take on this project.

Sal and Bob are two of the brightest in their industry, and I’m proud to say this will be the third transaction between our companies. It is the first to take place in Minneapolis, an extremely vibrant hub for business, technology, and education, with one of the strongest multifamily markets in the country.

RiZe at Opus Park is located within the Opus Business Park in Minnetonka, an affluent suburb just nine miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis. The Southwest LRT Management Committee has recently approved an extension of MSP’s rail system, which will include a stop at Opus Park, a quick five minute walk from RiZe. Our redevelopment couldn’t be coming at a better time, as residents will now have easier access to downtown MSP.

The booming area of Minneapolis-St. Paul is just nine miles from RiZe at Opus Park’s Minnetonka location

The property, currently an office park, is now undergoing demolition with the first phase of leasing expected to begin in 15 to 18 months. Two additional phases of leasing will follow, and we expect the project to reach completion within 21 to 24 months.

Just like the team at UC Funds, Sal and Bob are true entrepreneurs. Their ability to seek out profitable opportunities is something that I greatly admire, and is one of the many reasons I enjoy working with them. I have no doubt that RiZe at Opus Park will exceed expectations, matching the success of our previous collaborations.

On October 22, I will be running in the Marine Corps Marathon to raise money through the Palmier Foundation for InterVol, a not-for-profit whose mission is to recover viable unused medical supplies from hospitals and clinics and distribute them to those in need. We’re hoping to raise $26,200 for InterVol—a rate of $1,000 per mile. If you’d like to help us reach our donation goal and assist this great organization, you can make a pledge on The Palmier Foundation’s CrowdRise page.

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Making a difference through The Palmier Foundation

Some of you might not know that the “U” in UC Funds stands for “Ubuntu.” It’s a South African word that means “I am because of you.” Ubuntu perfectly embodies my philosophy when I started UC Funds back in 2010. I knew that without our clients, employees, and the relationships built over the past 20+ years, we would not be as successful and I would not be in the position I am today.

With that in mind, I established the Palmier Foundation in 2014 to give back and make a difference to those less fortunate. I believe that giving is God’s will and therefore not a choice, but an obligation.  Being able to help others is truly a blessing that comes from him.

We were recently able to make three large donations to worthwhile causes. First up, we have announced an additional $100,000 in donations to the Asian Christian Academy (ACA), bringing our total donations to $325,000. We have long been involved with the ACA, which provides post-graduate theological training and Christian education in India.

The ACA gives individuals in India the opportunity to study and earn their degrees in an educational environment.

This $100,000 will be used for the construction and opening of the first building for The ACA College of Arts and Sciences in Bangalore, India, the first Christian college of its kind in the country. It will also fund needed infrastructure, classrooms, and educational design of ACA’s curriculum. The first incoming class is expected July 2018.

Additionally, we continue to support the newly created Perspectives Ministries, which cares for widows and the fatherless, through mentoring, assistance in daily activities, and prayer.

We’ve also announced a donation of $16,000 to The Children and Athletes Regenerative MEDicine (CHARMED) Foundation, a non-profit organization whose goal is to discover new ways to help the body heal itself in order to save children’s lives and extend athletes’ careers.

Look to this blog in the next few months for updates on the new college, and other pursuits of our work at The Palmier Foundation.

On October 22, I will be running in the Marine Corps Marathon to raise money through the Palmier Foundation for InterVol, a not-for-profit whose mission is to recover viable unused medical supplies from hospitals and clinics and distribute them to those in need. We’re hoping to raise $26,200 for InterVol—a rate of $1,000 per mile. If you’d like to help us reach our donation goal and assist this great organization, you can make a pledge on The Palmier Foundation’s CrowdRise page.

 

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Another Rewarding Partnership Leads to an Exciting Unveiling in Kansas City, Missouri

After a year-long partnership with Gold Crown Properties, Inc., we are pleased to announce the grand opening of one of our latest projects, East 9 at Pickwick Plaza, a luxury apartment and retail community in Kansas City, Missouri. The team at UC Funds worked hard to structure a loan that would work for such a large-scale redevelopment. The borrower came to us after being let down by previous lenders, and it took us about a year to close the $30 million first mortgage loan for the project. With a total of $57 million capital stack, we were able to cover the redevelopment of four buildings, which take up an entire city block. We also helped the borrower arrange federal tax credits for redevelopment through the National Park Service.

The East 9 at Pickwick Plaza redevelopment covers an entire city block

East 9 at Pickwick Plaza has an incredible story. The four original buildings include an 11-story hotel, originally constructed in the 1930s, which was a home away from home for many presidents who visited Kansas City over the years. The other buildings are made up of a former bus terminal, a former office building, and a former parking garage. Now, after 22 months of construction, all four buildings are completely renovated, and astonishingly upgraded with locally-sourced artwork, chandeliers, sconces, and signage.

The main lobby is elegantly decorated with chandeliers and sconces created by local artist Joe Munson

East 9 at Pickwick Plaza’s first floor consists of more than 35,000 square feet of retail space, which is located directly under 260 apartments. Each small unit is decorated with top end finishes, and residents will be blown away by the amenity package, which includes a fitness center, community rooms, a swimming pool, a business center, wine lockers, and a tasting room. The units are already 60 percent leased, and will likely be fully leased by the end of 2017.  The new asset has attracted many millennials who finally have a place to live in downtown Kansas City that fits their needs. We expect that East 9 at Pickwick Plaza will contribute greatly to the revitalization that this area is currently seeing.

The sophisticated units offer a comfortable living space with luxurious finishes

The 260 units are located directly above more than 35,000 square feet of retail space

The Truman Living Room is just one example of the many amenities that East 9 at Pickwick Plaza offers

This spectacular renovation is sure to wow Kansas City residents, and we are proud of our relationship with Gold Crown Properties and their President, Tom Smith, which brought this redevelopment to life.

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Presenting UC GO – Transformational commercial real estate financing

On behalf of the team here at UC Funds, I’m thrilled to introduce our new UC GO non-recourse commercial bridge loan, the most competitive commercial real estate financing in the United States. By offering an 85 percent LTV, and 0.5 debt service coverage (DSC), UC GO is cheaper, faster, and more reliable than anything else out there. It is a variable rate product, starting at LIBOR +375, and is available for loans as little as $5 million.

This product is two years in the making. UC GO comes at a perfect time for borrowers, thanks to its extreme competitiveness and non-bank restrictions and contingencies. With many projects that began after the recession now cash flowing, they are able to meet our reduced debt service at an LTV that provides for numerous future refinancing options and alternatives. Plus, loan approval with UC GO is 30 days or less.

For investors, UC GO offers the superior returns of equity with the lower risk of debt. The combination of capitalization from both UC Funds itself and outside institutions, as well as real estate developers who are past UC Funds borrowers, certainly speaks to our firm’s integrity and expertise, as well as our steadfast commitment to relationship development.

UC GO is a great match for any type of asset, whether it’s multifamily, hotel, office, industrial, or mixed-use. What truly differentiates UC GO is the fact that most commercial mortgage products provide between 60 and 75 percent LTV, while UC GO is able to provide an 85 percent LTV. UC GO’s 0.5 DSC is twice as competitive as similar products on the market.

UC GO completes our portfolio of commercial real estate products across a wide variety of needs and uses, further establishing us as a one-stop shop for commercial real estate financing.

Think it’s a fit for your needs? To apply for UC GO, contact Domenico Manago, Managing Director of Sales, at 857-288-2811 or email Dmanago@ucfunds.com.

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Another Successful Four on the Fourth!

With the Fourth of July just days away, I’m happy to announce that UC Funds has succeeded in continuing our time honored tradition of closing four major deals just in time for the holiday. While others might be spending their days on the beach or by the pool, we’re still hard at work, as focused as ever on the business needs of our clients.

We began our mission to close four major deals this week, starting with a $5.6 million first mortgage loan provided for Parkside Apartments in West Palm Beach, Florida. We then moved on to an additional opportunity, providing a $19.5 million first mortgage loan to medical offices in Houston, Texas. Next came another first mortgage loan, in the amount of $10.65 million, which was originated for the redevelopment of a vacant four-story building with an adjacent one-story warehouse located in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

To really get the fireworks going, we finished with our fourth deal, the $40 million acquisition and renaissance project of the Residence Inn by Marriott in Stamford, Connecticut. This asset contributes to UC Funds’ overall $100 million commitment to downtown Stamford.

The UC Funds team is inspired by the spirit of America’s founding fathers, and we recognize the values and hard work of clients. This is why we make sure to celebrate their accomplishments with our Four on the Fourth tradition. Closing four deals is a great way for our team and clients alike to kick off the July 4th festivities.

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Happy Fourth of July from UC Funds!

All of us at UC Funds hope you celebrate another Independence Day filled with hope and promise. We are eternally grateful to our founding fathers who were divinely inspired to fight for and ultimately succeed in creating the greatest democracy the world has ever seen. Our United States remains the envy of the rest of the world for our education, healthcare, religious, and social freedoms as well as the ability to create a better life than the previous generation.

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