Since long before the 36-Story W Hotel and Residences began to rise earlier this year, the developers have faced the unpleasant task of replacing Corus Bank as their prime lender. Bad development loans in other markets have squeezed the bank’s liquidity, making it impossible for Corus to provide the capital required to complete the W.
What is the impact? It’s hard to say. But it is a positive sign that the developers continue to poor their own money into the project (the developers will fund the first $128M and must raise an additional $162M in debt or equity financing to complete the building) with the knowledge that the loan balance remains in limbo. The Corus problems have been known for months: if the developers did not believe that the project would be fully financed, they would likely have paused development already.
The W is an expensive project. At $300 million, the project will include an attractive mix of 252-room W hotel, 165 condo units, 35,000 square feet of office space, retail and restaurant space and a new theater to host KLRU’s Austin City Limits. The frame of the project has already reached 14-stories, and the developers say that construction will continue to proceed normally for the time being. The development partnership has invested approximately 2/3 of it’s available capital. The project team is currently in discussions with banks to secure a loan to replace the previous Corus obligation.