Duo’s Banking Connections Facilitate Land Sale

Eleazar David Melendez, Daily Business Review
July 16, 2014

Thomas Angelo teamed up with Gavin Banta to close on a 2.88-acre St. Petersburg site planned for 358 luxury apartments and parking facilities.

Dealmakers: Thomas Angelo and Gavin Banta

The Deal: The Fort Lauderdale attorneys helped negotiate a land acquisition and associated financing for a mixed-use development on a 2.88-acre site in St. Petersburg.

Details: A gold Rolodex enabled Angelo to close on the St. Petersburg land deal and obtain financing on unusually generous terms in April.

Thomas Angelo, CEO and managing shareholder of Angelo & Banta, said he scoured his web of banking contacts on behalf of Miami-based American Land Ventures LLC. The company purchased the land at 330 Third St. in downtown St. Petersburg and plans to move forward with 358 luxury apartments and parking facilities. The seller was Brighton, Mich.-based Osprey S.A. Ltd.

Angelo and law partner Banta represented ALV in the land acquisition. Angelo also connected the company with a contact at New York-based JPMorgan Chase and Co. and assisted in negotiating the term sheet for the loan. JPMorgan provided an $85.7 million construction loan.

“JPMorgan committed to 85 million of this loan without any qualification or requirement for syndication, which is pretty unusual,” Angelo noted. Getting the bank to move forward without those requirements was critical in a rapidly appreciating real estate market.

ALV, which has developed 10,000 luxury apartments and condominium units in Florida, agreed to buy the land in April 2012 and paid extension fees to delay its purchase of land adjacent to the Publix-anchored University Village Shopping Center.

The parcel slated for a 17-story tower is about five blocks from Bayfront Medical Center and All Children’s Hospital, which have a combined 5,000 employees.

Angelo said the transaction was indicative of the way he’s tried to run his firm’s commercial real estate practice—as a one-stop shop that can perform some tasks usually associated with a mortgage brokerage.

“We’ve been fortunate in that I have a significant number of relationships with institutional lenders, and one of the value adds that we have is that we can introduce our clients to those institutions,” Angelo said “Whereas elsewhere, someone might have to go to a mortgage broker, we facilitate introductions to our mortgage banking partners.”

“We distinguish ourselves in terms of what we can bring to the table, in spite of being a smaller firm than some of our competitors.”

The seller was represented by the Tampa office of Atlanta-based ARA to arrange the sale. Tampa-based senior vice president Patrick Dufour and Boca Raton-based principal Richard Donnellan participated.

Quote: “We needed to move forward quickly. There was a cost to continue extending the land deal with the seller due to extension fees for delaying the closing. Construction costs are increasing and going up as well. And obviously there’s construction going on in other projects so there’s a factor of competition.”

Background: Angelo is CEO and managing shareholder of Fort Lauderdale-based Angelo and Banta. Banta is shareholder at the firm.