News release

Construction financing secured for two Union Square assets in Somerville, MA

JLL Capital Markets arranged the loans for a 194,000-squarefoot life sciences facility and an adjacent 450-unit multi-housing development 

February 01, 2021

BOSTON, February 1, 2021 – JLL Capital Markets announced today that it has arranged construction financing for two monumental projects in the Union Square neighborhood of Somerville, Massachusetts. Sitting adjacent to the new MBTA Union Square Green Line station, the approximately 194,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art life sciences and lab facility and the adjacent 450-unit residential tower and mid-rise building mark the first phase of the Union Square Revitalization (USQ) master plan (www.discoverusq.com), which will eventually deliver nearly 2.4 million square feet of mixed uses to the neighborhood.  

JLL worked on behalf of the borrower, a joint venture between affiliates of Magellan Development Group, RAS Development, Cypress Equity Investments and USAA Real Estate, to secure the development financing, being provided by Bank OZK, for both projects.

“Bank OZK is delighted to provide senior-secured construction financing for the first two projects in the USQ master plan,” stated Christopher Lawton, Executive Vice President of Originations at Bank OZK’s Real Estate Specialties Group. “The development team’s vibrant life science and residential project is years in the making and a bold beginning for the Union Square revitalization. This project embodies the high standards we consistently seek in our project financings – marquee real estate, strong market fundamentals and top-tier sponsorship.”

Sitting less than a mile from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Kendall Square, the epicenters of the life science industry, the projects will benefit significantly from their proximity to the world's most innovative and recognized technology, biotechnology.  The resulting ecosystem provides one of the most sought-after talent and employment bases in the country and supports companies at every stage of growth, from start-up to multinational in scale.

Union Square’s revitalization is a key component of the City of Somerville’s “SomerVision”, a plan to make Somerville a regional employment center by creating a 30,000 new high-quality jobs through new commercial development. The addition of the MBTA Green Line to Union Square, one of Somerville’s oldest commercial districts and cultural centers in Somerville, will be a catalyst for USQ’s 2.4 million square feet of new mixed use development, including 1.4 million square feet of new biotech, lab and office, and 1,000 new housing units and retail space. Working together with the city, the borrower was selected as the master developer in 2014 to facilitate the investment and lead the transformation of the neighborhood. 

“This a tremendous beginning for the revitalization of Union Square “A new Class A life sciences building will anchor the neighborhood and create opportunities for the next great concentration of life sciences and technology companies to flourish.,” said Greg Karczewski, a principal of the borrower venture. “New housing, retail opportunities and open spaces next to the new MBTA Station will make this great neighborhood even better.”

The JLL Capital Markets team representing the borrower was led by Senior Managing Directors Daniel Kaufman and Frederic Wittmann, and Managing Director Brett Paulsrud.  

“This marks a major milestone for the neighborhood,” said Paulsrud. “A significant amount of effort and perseverance have gone in to creating a plan and design that has remained thoughtful of the urban fabric and character that Union Square has always represented for the City. It is great to see it all come together, and will be exciting to watch this best-in-class development team execute its plan.”

JLL Capital Markets is a full-service global provider of capital solutions for real estate investors and occupiers. The firm's in-depth local market and global investor knowledge delivers the best-in-class solutions for clients — whether investment sales advisory, debt placement, equity placement or a recapitalization. The firm has more than 3,700 Capital Markets specialists worldwide with offices in nearly 50 countries.

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About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $18.0 billion in 2019, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of over 92,000 as of September 30, 2020. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit jll.com.

About USAA Real Estate

With approximately $25 billion in assets under management and 10 global offices, USAA Real Estate is an industry leader in acquiring, developing, financing and managing the highest quality real estate assets in North America and Europe. The mission of USAA Real Estate is to serve the financial interests of its investor clients by strengthening the profitability and diversity of the USAA investment portfolio, which includes multifamily, industrial, office and hotel properties, as well as e-commerce logistics and distribution centers, media production facilities and data centers. Aligned with a series of strategic partnerships cultivated over decades of co-investment, USAA Real Estate engages with preeminent sector leaders demonstrating proven domain expertise in a shared drive to achieve superior, risk-adjusted returns.  For more information, visit usrealco.com.

About Magellan Development Group

Magellan Development Group is a family-owned company that was founded in 1996. To date, Magellan has developed 27 mostly mixed-use communities, valued over $5 billion and over 9,000 residential units. Magellan is the premier developer of mixed-use properties in Chicago and has extended its footprint to other major U.S. cities, including Minneapolis, Miami, Nashville, Austin, San Diego and Somerville, MA. From conception to completion, Magellan looks after all aspects of the development process and has unique experience in interrelated fields of real estate design, construction management, development, development consultation, architecture, leasing, sales and marketing. For more information on Magellan Development Group, please visit: www.magellandevelopment.com.

About RAS Development

Richard A. Stein established RAS Development in 2014 to collaborate with Magellan Development to plan and implement the Union Square Revitalization project.  During his 50 year tenure in the real estate industry, Stein has completed real estate projects valued at more than $10 billion as developer, design/builder and consultant.  For more information, visit:  www.rasdevelopment.com.

About Cypress Equity Investments

Cypress Equity Investments is a national developer and investor with a primary focus on multifamily and mixed-use assets. Since its inception in 2001, CEI has been executing ground-up and value-add real estate, completing over 120 projects and amassing a portfolio and pipeline in excess of 13,700 multifamily units, as well as commercial projects amounting to more than $6.7 billion of value. Today, CEI continues to execute Class “A” multifamily development and acquisition strategies in top-tier urban markets throughout the US, utilizing its inhouse team of development, investment and construction professionals. For more information, please visit: cypressequity.com

About Bank OZK

Bank OZK (Nasdaq: OZK), through its Real Estate Specialties Group (RESG), provides senior-secured financing on marquee commercial real estate construction projects throughout the nation. RESG is considered a preeminent, market-leading construction lender changing skylines across the United States. For more information, visit www.ozk.com