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Owners of Dallas' Cityplace tower restructure debt

By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News 
stevebrown@dallasnews.com
 
Owners of Dallas' landmark Cityplace tower have reworked the debt on the building. Barrow Street Capital and Ashkenazy & Agus Ventures bought the 42-story building on North Central Expressway in 2007. They have spent millions remodeling the building and leased a large block of vacant office space.
 
But with the credit crunch, the skyscraper east of downtown still faced problems.
 
Those debt issues now appear to be solved.
 
Cityplace tower's owners say they have restructured their $125 million loan with Anglo Irish Bank of Dublin.
 
New York's Iron Hound Management Co. arranged the loan modification, which included the current owners putting new cash into the venture.
 
"We structured a deal that made sense and was worthwhile for both the borrower and lender," Iron Hound principal Robert Verrone said.
 
The new loan also extended the maturity of the note, Verrone said.
 
At a time when several high-profile North Texas commercial properties have wound up in foreclosure, it's significant that the Cityplace owners were able to hang on to their property and get a new loan. 
 
Florida-based Ashkenazy & Agus and its financial partner, Barrow Street Capital of Connecticut, had planned to convert part of the building into residential when they bought the 1.3 million-square-foot tower. But when the condo market went south, the owners decided to revamp the existing office space.
 
They spent several million dollars upgrading the 22-year-old skyscraper, including building a 40,000-square-foot health club. And there are plans to build adjoining retail.
 
The improvements have paid off.
 
Dallas' Dean Foods Co. leased a big block of space in the tower that had previously been occupied by 7-Eleven Corp.
 
"The Dean Foods lease was a significant factor in our success in getting the debt restructured," Verrone said. "And it was a good borrower who was bringing cash to the table."