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Goldman Ala Moana Loan In Biggest One-Borrower CMBS Since 2010

By Al Yoon Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) will likely sell as much as $1.4 billion in commercial mortgage-backed securities next week, marking the biggest CMBS supported by a single loan since 2010, according to people familiar with the deal. Goldman Sachs made the $1.4 billion loan on the Ala Moana Center mall in Honolulu, Hawaii, to refinance $1.3 billion in debt, lowering the interest rate for owner General Growth Properties (GGP) to 4.23% from 5.59%, a regulatory filing shows. General Growth was slated to pay the higher rate for another six years, based on a maturity extension in the restructuring agreement that helped lift the firm out of bankruptcy. GGP, the mall owner that buckled under the debts taken on during the real-estate boom, will bypass the traditional CMBS, where bonds are supported by multiple loans. Loans backed by top-quality and large assets may get better terms through single-borrower deals, according to Alan Todd, head of CMBS strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, because simpler deals are easier to evaluate and easier to fix if a problem arises. The deal would be also be the largest CMBS of 2012, following a lending slowdown in the second half of 2011. Refinancing of billions of dollars in loans has been difficult since most were made under lending guidelines looser than today's, and were made before real-estate values fell some 40%. Goldman is bringing the deal at a time of increased volatility in CMBS. Risk premiums swooned earlier this month as investors worried about additional supply from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Maiden Lane III portfolio, bouts of risk aversion fostered by Europe's lingering debt crisis and signs of moderating U.S. growth. But risk premiums have stabilized this week. Yield spread premiums on benchmark CMBS made during the real-estate boom declined to about 170 basis points over interest-rate swaps this week from 220 basis points a week ago, according to Credit Suisse. In a sign of confidence, Goldman may now securitize the entire $1.4 billion loan, versus just the $1.1 billion senior portion initially planned, industry publication Commercial Mortgage Alert reported on Friday. Other "trophy" property loans in recent single-borrower CMBS include a $625 million mortgage for Manhattan's 9 West 57th Street office tower and a $412 million deal to finance the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami. The last single-borrower deal to top $1 billion helped fund Blackstone's Hilton Hotels portfolio in November 2010, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. -By Al Yoon, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3216;

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