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SL Green pursues refinancing of One Vanderbilt construction deal

SL Green Realty Corp. is ahead of its original construction schedule on its One Vanderbilt Avenue tower near Grand Central Terminal in New York City and is pursuing a refinancing of its in-place construction funding, executives said on a conference call.

The company is seeking up to $300 million in the refinancing, which would result in additional proceeds, a longer term, a lower rate and less recourse than initially anticipated, CFO Matthew DiLiberto said on the call. CEO Marc Holliday said the company is "in front of a group of banks" for the refinancing, while DiLiberto said the additional funding could come either from a loan or from selling additional equity in the project.

In January 2017, SL Green brought in two equity partners on the tower: the National Pension Service of Korea, which bought a 27.6% stake, and Hines, which took a 1.4% stake.

Holliday framed the new refinancing as an unplanned positive development that illustrates the project's success, adding that, if it is successful, it will be "highly accretive" to the project and the joint venture.

In his opening remarks on the call, Holliday said the tower is ahead of schedule and under budget, with steel framing now having reached the 39th floor of construction. Executives described tenant demand as strong. Steven Durels, the company's director of leasing and real property, said SL Green is "trading paper" with four or five tenants and is in advanced discussions with two, about which it hopes to have positive news by the end of 2018.

Holliday also cited an approximately 100,000-square-foot lease the company signed with Carlyle Group LP at the tower as a driver of momentum. Part of that agreement involved an SL Green subsidiary taking over Carlyle's current lease at a different property owned by Tishman Speyer Properties LP, but Tishman Speyer balked at the transfer, and Carlyle has sued the landlord, according to reports.

Asked whether the dispute would complicate Carlyle's lease with SL Green, Holliday noted that SL Green is not a party to the lawsuit and said it "in no way" affects the One Vanderbilt lease.

"I can't really comment any further on that, other than to say it's unfortunate," he said.