The WSJ does a great job reporting. Here are our favorite parts of the article [emphasis added]:
One of the biggest, most high-profile deals of the commercial real-estate boom is in danger of imminent default, say people familiar with the matter, signaling the beginning of what is expected to be a wave of commercial-property failures.
The sprawling Manhattan apartment complex known as Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town -- acquired for $5.4 billion in 2006 by a venture of Tishman Speyer Properties and a unit of BlackRock Inc. -- is running out of cash. As of the end of September, it had $33.7 million left of the $400 million in interest reserves set up to service its debt, according to the people familiar with the matter. At its current burn rate of about $16 million per month, the reserve could be depleted before the end of the year, the people said. Others have said the venture could avoid default until February.
The spokesman for Tishman Speyer declined to comment on behalf of the partnership.
The ownership, which includes a roster of high-profile investors from the Church of England to the California Public Employees' Retirement System, has no current plans to inject more capital into the venture, according to the people. Lenders who financed the deal first projected the complex's net operating income would triple to $336 million in 2011 from $112 million in 2006, according to Deutsche Bank AG. But net income is projected to be $139 million this year, according to Realpoint LLC, a credit-rating agency.
Investors who bought into the deal were confident that real-estate manager Tishman Speyer would be able to greatly boost profits by raising rents in Manhattan's sizzling apartment market. But today, the 56-building, 11,000-apartment property is suffering from a slowing New York economy, a lawsuit that has hindered the owner's ability to convert rent-controlled units to market rentals, and the debt load.
Realpoint estimates that the property is worth only $2.1 billion now, less than half of the purchase price. By that measure, all the equity investors and many of the lenders, including Government of Singapore Investment Corp., or GIC; Gramercy Capital Corp.; and SL Green Realty Corp., are in danger of seeing most, if not all, of their investments wiped out. Hartford Financial Services Group, which bought $100 million of the debt tied to the property, said it has "sufficiently reserved for ths asset in the first half of this year."
These projections convinced Calpers and the pension funds of several other states to make large equity investments in the deal. Meantime, the Tishman/BlackRock venture put a $3 billion first mortgage on the property and another $1.4 billion of so-called mezzanine debt[TILB - donut].
But even a victory by the Tishman/BlackRock partnership likely won't save the deal from a default. One indication: a "special servicer" is in the process of taking over the deal's CMBS debt, say people familiar with the matter. Special servicers are experts in dealing with troubled loans. The transfer to the special servicer, CW Capital, could occur as soon as this month, the people said.
Major players in these talks will likely be Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together own more than $1.5 billion of the most highly rated, triple-A slices of the CMBS debt, according to people familiar with the matter. They would likely benefit from a fast foreclosure because, as senior lenders, they would be paid back first. [TILB - Let's hope it's worth $2.1 billion and not less as the AAA is probably already modestly impaired at that valuation...]