Brief description of the company
Founded in 2010 by Daniel Palmier, UC Funds, a vertically integrated commercial real estate specialty finance firm, originates, structures, underwrites, and asset manages its commercial real estate investments. A national balance sheet provider of both debt and equity capital solutions, UC Funds has provided over $2 billion of capital solutions to date. UC Funds offers quick and customized financial solutions throughout the entire capital stack, including joint venture equity. One of the nation’s most entrepreneurial lending institutions, UC Funds focuses on multifamily, retail, office, hotel, industrial/warehouse, adaptive reuse, and construction assets nationwide. The firm has developed strong relationships with past and current borrowers through its renowned customer service, creativity, speed, and reliability.
In 2017, UC Funds debuted its industry-leading commercial mortgage bridge loan, UC GO, the most competitive mortgage product of its kind available in commercial real estate today. Now available at 85 percent loan to value and 0.5 debt service coverage ratio, UC GO is a variable rate non-recourse product starting at LIBOR +295.
Why is your company a good fit for this category?
Deal of the Year – Equity – About the deal:
In 2018, UC Funds finalized a $46M renovation for the Marriott-franchised Residence Inn Stamford Downtown, an extended-stay, all-suite hotel located at 25 Atlantic Street in Stamford, Connecticut. UC Funds completed the project with $25M of equity placement along with a $21M construction loan. The Residence Inn is the first hotel in Stamford to offer extended stay lodging and now serves as and serves as Downtown Stamford’s only all-suite property.
UC Funds’ loan funded expedited construction for the asset’s redevelopment after stalled construction from its previous owner left the site untouched for two years. UC Funds acquired the property in 2017 and immediately started an accelerated timeline to construct the hotel and have it open in November 2018. The former eyesore has now become a picturesque focal point in Downtown Stamford.
Managed by Urgo Hotels & Resorts, the Residence Inn features luxury apartment-style accommodations and over 2,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The hotel also offers a state-of-the-art fitness center, a mezzanine level outdoor bar, and a patio area. A tapas-style restaurant and tequila bar located in the lobby provides signature high-end service for guests.
The Residence Inn’s unique extended-stay offering, combined with its attractive amenities, proximity to Manhattan, and central location will attract corporate travelers searching for sophisticated lodging and easy access to transportation. The hotel lies just 30 miles outside New York City and is within walking distance of the Metro North railway station. It also sits within a three-block radius of Downtown Stamford’s many restaurants and attractions, further boosting the city’s ongoing renewal efforts.
UC Funds’ Residence Inn Stamford Downtown deal is an excellent candidate for Equity Deal of the Year due not only to its speed and success but because of the project’s long-term economic value. Hotel patrons will increase foot traffic for local shops and restaurants. The redevelopment will trigger other investors, growing the local real estate market. And by fulfilling a missing need among regional business travelers, its presence will cement Stamford as the top corporate hub in the Northeast.
What is unique about your platform?
Speed and flexibility are UC Funds’ top attributes as a lender funding commercial real estate redevelopments. In 2017, UC Funds partnered with Barclays to develop UC GO, a competitive non-recourse commercial mortgage loan, which remains in high demand nationwide. UC GO was developed for borrowers uncertain about getting funding from traditional banks due to tightened regulations.
In fact, commercial real estate lending in the Q1 2017 accounted for only 25.5 percent of loans closed, as opposed to the 43 percent share in Q1 of 2016. In a tight lending environment, UC GO’s speed and flexibility in financing provide an alternative to borrowers. UC GO is twice as competitive as any other alternative lending program on the market at 0.5 debt service coverage ratio. The loan also provides 85 percent loan to value (LTV), which is much higher than the common 60 to 75 percent LTV for other programs.
UC Funds CEO Dan Palmier realized his firm was uniquely positioned to create a reliable and efficient alternative to traditional lending to better serve the firm’s existing clients and attract new business. In today’s tight lending environment, UC GO’s fast approvals and flexibility in financing offers borrowers an alternative path to long-term reduction and ensures assets stay stable. The product exemplifies UC Funds’ focus on enhancing the borrower’s experience in the underwriting process by building a personalized loan fitting their project’s needs and timeline.
The UC GO loan synergizes all UC Funds’ products, further allowing the firm to create attractive returns for borrowers while helping through each phase of their project’s lifecycle. This client-centered strategy establishes UC Funds as one of the top one-stop-shop capital solutions providers in commercial real estate today.
Please describe how you’ve played a significant and meaningful role at your company and for your clients, including leadership, negotiation, and innovation.
At UC Funds, CEO Dan Palmier ensures that employees gain a well-rounded perspective of commercial real estate lending and get exposure to its various facets through an entrepreneurial lens. Palmier emphasizes the importance of capitalizing on profitable opportunities and facilitates growth for employees at all levels. From an assistant underwriter to a seasoned originator, Palmier enables each employee to develop lending skills across all asset classes.
Fostering a friendly, supportive, and collaborative environment, UC Funds’ employees are given the autonomy to tackle their jobs with confidence, instilled through a company-wide focus on teamwork and career growth. He embodies UC Funds’ core values of collegiality, integrity, commitment, excellence, and intensity; and his hands-on approach sets an example for employees to practice these values every day. At the end of each year, Palmier and a senior manager recognize an employee for representing the firm’s core values and deploying its competitive advantages with an award of excellence. These awards are unique to UC Funds, a special way for the firm to acknowledge and congratulate its top performers.
Palmier is regarded as an innovator in the commercial real estate space for his successful approach to client relations and his creation of UC GO, a sought-after, state-of-the-art capital solution for borrowers Palmier saw the need for an alternative lending product in today’s market and set out to develop UC GO. The loan’s ability to provide superior returns on equity with a low risk of debt further exemplifies Palmier’s status as an innovator in real estate finance.
With his client-centric approach to business and forward-thinking mindset, Palmier is a leader within his organization, among his loyal clients, and with his peers in the commercial real estate space. By providing flexible financial solutions to clients across all commercial real estate sectors, UC Funds is laying new groundwork for the future of alternative lending.