National Penn, Capmark back Philly builders in Baltimore deal

Development loans have been drying up, but National Penn Bank of Boyertown and Capmark (formerly GMAC Commercial) of Horsham recently joined forces to bankroll a $48 million, tax break-aided rehab of Baltimore’s landmark 13-story B&O Building by Philadelphia developers ARCWheeler Development and Hospicomm.
How rare is that? “If you want to develop a piece of real estate -- where there might have been $100 available to build with last winter, there’s maybe $5 today,” said Matthew McManus, chairman of Bluestone Real Estate Capital, the Philadelphia real estate investment bank that arranged the B&O loans.
National Penn replaced a Baltimore-area lender that got cold feet at the last minute, according to McManus. The bank real estate team, headed by Joseph C. Walker, “did a phenomenal job. They came in and in one week they understood, committed and funded this project,” McManus said.
ARCWheeler plans a boutique hotel and fancy restaurants at the B&O, said ARCWheeler principal Hal Wheeler, in announcing the deal financing Feb. 21.
McManus also arranged funding for Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein’s last big project, a $70 million investment in Temple student housing and stores at Avenue North, by labor union-owned Amalgamated Bank’s real estate equity fund. As an equity fund, Amalgamated is immune to the tough credit market that has made national banks and hedge funds loan-shy, McMaus said.