Mark Scott (J. Albert Diaz)
Dealmakers: Mark Scott
The Deal: Scott and other attorneys at Arnstein & Lehr counseled CGI Merchant Group in obtaining a $53 million refinancing for a downtown Miami tower.
Details: A multimillion-dollar refinancing for a marquee property is rarely a simple feat. Yet the $53.3 million deal involving a downtown Miami tower involved perhaps a few more specialists than other similarly sized transactions, said an attorney for the owner.
Scott helped coordinate the refinancing backed by 1100 Biscayne Blvd., The Marquis hotel-and-residential tower built in 2008. Because the loan is seen as a catalyst for a repositioning of the building, getting the deal done meant not only dealing with financial counsel in New York and locally, but also restaurant experts, office consultants, hotel operators and land-use lobbyists.
The borrower in the transaction was Miami-based CGI Merchant Group LLC, which bought the nonresidential portion of The Marquis earlier this year. The lender, New York-based MSDC Management LP, is the family office of multibillionaire Michael Dell. As part of the refinancing, MSDC tacked $28.3 million onto CGI’s acquisition loan.
“This deal was very interesting because it had a lot of floating parts, and you had to bring a lot of different owners together to make it work,” Scott said.
The refinancing deal covered the building’s restaurants, office space, parking and hotel, and required counsel with experience beyond that, including some who worked with the homeowner association and the city on zoning issues. The money will partly be used for a renovation that involves bringing in a new operator for the tower’s hotel space, Spain’s Melia Hotels International SA. A new restaurant will be brought in by the New York-based ONE Group.
Scott, who said he “quarterbacked” the deal, explained: “We hired special counsel for financing in New York. I had in my team, which was a big component, top land-use lawyers. We had to involve construction lawyers to help us in terms of working out the construction part. We also had the HOA and owners involved.”
The financing component of the deal came with its own complexity, the attorney noted.
“The financing is quite complex, so putting those equity stacks together with conventional financing was also a complex matter,” Scott said. “We’re dealing with very sophisticated investors in this transaction who understand putting different amounts of money in at different times has specific risks and rewards. They’re concerned about dilution, even if they assume it’s going to happen.”
Scott said he found it “enjoyable to have all these relationships with all these different” counselors as part of the deal, but had special words of praise for Miami attorney Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a state senator who is also a partner in the land-use practice of Arnstein & Lehr.
Quote: “As a complex deal, it brought together a lot of cultures,” Scott said.
Background: Scott is a partner in the Miami office of Arnstein & Lehr.