News release

SMA Equities’ Gemma Gramercy development becomes first Passive House to secure Fannie Mae loan

JLL Capital Markets arranges $70.6M refinancing for 108-unit mixed-use development at 200 East 23rd St.

January 23, 2024

Linda O’Flanagan


NEW YORK, Jan. 23, 2024  –  JLL Capital Markets announced today it has arranged a $70.635 million Fannie Mae loan for SMA Equities to refinance 200 East 23rd St., a newly-completed, 20-story mixed-use property in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood.

JLL represented the borrower in negotiating a 10-year, interest only fixed-rate Fannie Mae loan through Fannie Mae’s Near-Stabilization program. This will be the first property with a Passive House certification financed by Fannie Mae.  The loan will be serviced by JLL Real Estate Capital, LLC, a Fannie Mae DUS® Lender. 

JLL previously arranged SMA Equities’ acquisition financing in 2015 when the developer purchased the site and subsequently secured construction financing in 2021 to fund the development costs.

Known as Gemma Gramercy, 200 East 23rd St. is a 108-unit property located on the southeast corner of 23rd Street and Third Avenue. Developed under the city’s 421-a tax program, 25% of units are affordable, while the ground floor features retail space. The first residents took occupancy in May 2023 and the property was approximately 80% occupied at closing.

Gemma’s studio, one- and two-bedroom residences offer open, airy layouts, and the highest quality fixtures and finishes throughout. Luxury amenities include a rooftop terrace and lounge, a state-of-the art fitness center, co-working space, a second-floor lounge and entertaining room, a bike room, media room, package room, virtual doorman and communal laundry.

Gemma boasts a Passive House design, which reduces its energy usage by 85% compared to traditional apartment buildings. The sustainable design strategy balances a comprehensive set of factors, including heat emissions from appliances and occupants to keep the building at comfortable and consistent indoor temperatures throughout the heating and cooling seasons.

The building was designed with advanced, individually controlled ERV and VRF HVAC systems and an airtight and insulated building envelope.

Samy Mahfar, co-founder and managing principal of SMA Equities, commented, “Passive buildings offer tremendous long-term benefits in addition to ongoing energy efficiency. We appreciate JLL’s thoughtful efforts throughout the development process that have culminated with this long-term financing from a lender who supports ESG principles with compelling pricing and structure.”

Fannie Mae introduced its first Multifamily Green Financing products to the market in 2011 and securitizes these loans as Green MBS. Since 2012, Fannie Mae has issued more than $110 billion in Multifamily Green MBS and continues to build on its mission to make affordable – and increasingly greener – housing accessible in both the multifamily and single-family markets.

The JLL Capital Markets team that arranged the Fannie Mae loan was led, once again, by Senior Managing Director Evan Pariser and Managing Directors Michael Shmuely and Michael Zaremski and Director John Flynn.

“SMA Equities has fully embraced the principle of sustainable design with Gemma Gramercy, positioning itself as a leader in environmental development,” said Pariser. “After nearly 10 years of work that included securing a construction loan at the height of the COVID pandemic, they are now powerfully positioned to reap the rewards through operational savings, increased returns and marketability of a product that appeals to environmentally conscious renters seeking a superior lifestyle in a vibrant urban neighborhood.”

“This was a highly structured transaction, which allowed the client to lock rate and close prior to achieving full stabilization and is a testament to Fannie Mae’s commitment to both affordable housing and it’s green initiatives,” added Shmuely.

Gramercy Park is among New York’s most popular residential neighborhoods, populated by restaurants, coffee shops and understated nightlife. Gramercy, Madison Square and Union Square parks are all within proximity, making it one of the greenest corners of Downtown Manhattan, and transportation options include the 6 train at 23rd Street and Park Avenue, the R and W trains at 23rd Street and Broadway and the Union Square subway hub.

Agency/GSE lending and loan servicing are performed by JLL Real Estate Capital, LLC, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated.

For more news, videos and research resources, please visit JLL’s newsroom.

About JLL

For over 200 years, JLL (NYSE: JLL), a leading global commercial real estate and investment management company, has helped clients buy, build, occupy, manage and invest in a variety of commercial, industrial, hotel, residential and retail properties. A Fortune 500® company with annual revenue of $20.8 billion and operations in over 80 countries around the world, our more than 106,000 employees bring the power of a global platform combined with local expertise. Driven by our purpose to shape the future of real estate for a better world, we help our clients, people and communities SEE A BRIGHTER WAYSM. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit

About SMA Equities

SMA Equities is a New York-based real estate firm that invests as a principal in multi-family, retail, office, mixed-use properties, and land. Their investments are nationwide, with the largest share of assets located within the greater New York metropolitan area. Throughout SMA Equities' history, starting in 1986 as SMA Realty, they have excelled as an active hands-on organization. SMA primarily focuses on real estate investments, development and operations.