That's politically connected parking lot king Richard Meruelo, whose development company has been struggling to finish up the 35-story 717 Ninth project, which would become downtown's tallest residential tower. As reported by the Downtown News, the development had been backed by a construction loan that fell apart early this year because of the lousy credit markets. That's left Meruelo Maddux Properties scrambling to secure financing (work has slowed noticeably in recent months). Now, it looks like the company has an $84-million loan from Century City-based investment firm Canyon Capital Realty Advisors. It'll cost them, however. There's a 12 percent fixed interest rate.
In recent months, Meruelo Maddux has been shopping some of its properties in Downtown and surrounding areas - including a 119,000-square-foot warehouse on San Fernando Road occupied by FedEx Corp. - as an alternative means to generate cash. Even with the loan, however, the company may still have to get creative in terms of generating more cash, given a laundry list of upcoming expenses, [analyst Alex] Goldfarb said. "There are loans that are maturing that need to be refinanced. There are loans that have matured and are on a multi-month extension that really need to be termed out or repaid or something," Goldfarb said. "So there are a number of capital stepping stones that they still need to clear."
The project is now expected to be finished in a little over a year.