Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Procida Bullish on Philadelphia CRE Investments

by Steve Lubetkin, Globest.com
Procida Funding & Advisors founder William "Billy" Procida remains highly enthusiastic about its investments in Philadelphia, having capped the third quarter with the $35-million construction financing for the restoration of the iconic Divine Lorraine Hotel on North Broad Street.

Procida’s 100 Mile Fund reported 16.02% annualized percentage yield for investors for the third quarter of 2015.  Since inception in November 2011, the 100 Mile Fund has closed on over $280 million in loan originations throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The Divine Lorraine project has stirred enormous community excitement in Philadelphia, where hopes for restoration of the unusual structure have been high on the city’s wish list for decades.

“Did you know that 7,000 people showed up at the groundbreaking?” asked William “Billy” Procida in an exclusive interview with GlobeSt.com. “In 35 years—and I’m big on groundbreakings—I think I had one or two where there was a hundred people. People waited on line for two hours to go in the building to see our exhibit.”

His other major financing project in Philadelphia, the Mural Arts Lofts, was fully leased before it opened.

“Construction, which we thought was going to be 18 months, finished in ten,” he says. “We thought it would take six to nine months to lease, and it leased before we even got a CO, so we are excited about that whole North Broad marketplace right now.”

Philadelphia remains both attractive aesthetically and financially, Procida says. “It’s twice as nice and half the price of New York,” he says. He points to the American Bible Society, which sold its headquarters at Columbus Circle in New York after being there for 100 years.

“They had enough money, they could have gone anywhere, they picked Philadelphia,” he says. “The Pope picked Philly [for his recent US visit], the Democratic Party picked Philly [for its convention in 2016], it’s just a great city.”

Procida, who describes himself as “a lifelong New York City developer,” says it’s “hard to walk down the street now in Manhattan.”

“If you go to Rittenhouse Square and sit at a sidewalk café, you can actually see Rittenhouse Park,” he says. “If you go to a sidewalk café in New York, all you see is Yellow Cabs.”

Procida is also financing several other projects in Philadelphia, including a $1.2 million bridge financing for a mixed-use building. He also believes the economically disadvantaged city of Paterson, NJ, where he says he has made $40 million in investments, has need of his financing expertise.

“I’ve got this new philosophy, don’t do what people want to do, do what needs to be done,” he says. “In the seven years I’m in Paterson, I’m making 15 percent on every dollar I have on the street, and I’m doing good work that needs to be done. We don’t need another skyscraper, we don’t need another shopping mall, what we need to do is finish what is supposed to be done.”

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