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Business Observer Friday, Jul. 20, 2018 4 months ago

New York firm commits to provide equity for planned 53-story Tampa tower

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GPB Capital Holdings signs on to provide equity for Riverwalk Place, a planned 53-story tower in downtown Tampa
by: Kevin McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Editor

A New York company that bills itself as specializing in “alternative asset management” has committed to provide equity funding for Feldman Equities Ltd. and Two Roads Development’s planned Riverwalk Place skyscraper in downtown Tampa.

GPB Capital Holdings LLC, which has raised more than $1.5 billion in its history and focuses on “acquiring income-producing private companies,” has been involved with the planned 53-story, mixed-use project for roughly a year.

“We’ve known the principals of GPB for some time, many years actually,” says Feldman CEO Larry Feldman, who also is from New York originally. “They came into the project initially as a bridge lender, and then a partial equity partner, and over time, their involvement has expanded from a relatively modest investment to a greater role.”

GPB Capital’s involvement came to light in April, when Feldman and Two Roads unveiled a long-awaited Gensler design for the $350 million tower. Two Roads joined the project officially as its residential developer a month earlier.

The development partners plan to break ground on the project, slated to contain more than 200 luxury condominiums, ground-floor retail space, parking and roughly 145,000 square feet of Class A office space, early next year and have the building at least partially completed by February 2021.

It would also be the first new office tower constructed in Tampa’s downtown in three decades and the first to contain a mix of uses.

Per its design, Riverwalk Place also would be the tallest building along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

GPB Capital officials declined to comment on its participation in Riverwalk Place or its funding activities. If its funding reaches fruition, the firm could invest roughly $70 million in the project, based on standard financing formulas for commercial real estate projects' equity-to-debt ratios.

The involvement by the firm, which spun off of accounting and consulting firm Gentile, Pismeny & Brengel LLP and today is led by David Gentile, would be somewhat unusual, according to a portfolio listing on GPB’s website.

GPB Capital focuses on automotive dealerships in New England, New York, Pittsburgh and Texas; providing debt to companies such as Kinestral and Tactual Labs; and acquiring waste management firms including Capitol Waste and Recycling Services and Staten Island Carting Inc.

It’s biggest investment platform, however, appears to be in auto dealerships. In all, the company lists 60 separate dealerships in the portfolio on its website.

The company also embarks on “special situations” that have involved varying concerns, ranging from Alliance Physical Therapy Partners to Riverwalk Place.

"They’re able to act very entrepreneurial — they’re not an institution with levels of bureaucracy or committees that one has to go through, and that appeals to us. They’re very smart people.” — Feldman Equities' CEO Larry Feldman, on GPB Capital Holdings

But real estate has played a limited role in the company’s investments. Aside from Riverwalk Place, GPB Capital has been involved only with a Brooklyn condominium project, according to its website.

More broadly, GPB Capital develops “institutional quality, income-generating solutions,” the company’s website notes. “Most importantly, our competitive advantage stems from a creative approach to deal structuring combined with significant access to proprietary deal flow.”

Feldman says GPB Capital could provide all of the necessary equity to launch the project, which would amount to between $70 million and $105 million, based on traditional commercial real estate lending standards. It’s expected that Feldman, Two Roads, Tower Realty Partners and others may contribute equity to Riverwalk Place, as well.

“If all goes well, with GPB on board we won’t need any more equity,” says Feldman. “But debt will be a significant portion of the financing, as we’ve anticipated.”

With GPB Capital in place, Feldman and Two Roads are focusing on readying Riverwalk Place’s sales center — adjacent to the planned tower — for an October debut.

“We really feel as if the wind is at our back now,” Feldman says. “We’re well supplied with apartments in Tampa now, but as for condos, people are desperate for product now — the supply is so limited. It’s part of the reason sales prices are up 12% in Tampa from a year ago.

“But we want to be prudent — we’re not going to go recklessly out of the ground unless and until we’ve reached a good percentage of pre-sales.”

Feldman says GPB Capital will help Riverwalk Place as it moves forward.

“They have a very large fund, and a lot of clout in the business,” he says. “Just as importantly, for us, is that they’re able to act very entrepreneurial — they’re not an institution with levels of bureaucracy or committees that one has to go through, and that appeals to us. They’re very smart people.”

 

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