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Sixteen Corporate and Real Estate Clinic Students Close $2.2M Loan for Williamsburg Building

01/28/2021

After two and a half years of representation from the Corporate and Real Estate Clinic, a 41-unit building in Williamsburg owned mostly by low-income tenants closed on a $2.2 million loan through the City’s Green Housing Program on Dec. 28, 2020. The loan will finance energy efficiency improvements and needed upgrades, including new windows, a new roof, solar panels, and facade repairs.

Under the supervision of the clinic’s director, Professor Debra Bechtel, fall semester students Brian Brown ’21, Melissa Cifone ’21, Huyen Dang ’21, and Austin Manna ’21 negotiated a complex deal involving three separate governmental loans. The students prepared and reviewed loan documents, including the loan commitment letter, drafted an opinion letter and resolutions, and coordinated the virtual closing. Additionally, the students negotiated the general contractor and solar contracts.

At the closing, the City of New York was represented by Michael Chau ’00, and Stewart Title Company, where Alumni Association Board member Tim Oberweger ’05 is a vice president, insured the property title.

The clinic became involved in the Williamsburg project two and a half years ago when students began advising the corporation about co-op conversion options, pursuing a real estate tax exemption, assisting with a predevelopment loan and satisfying mortgages. The student teams who had worked on the project include: Briana Stapleton ’19, Brenda Slochowsky ’19, Sarah Zehentner ’21, Jaime Dinan ’20, Michael Nasheweit ’20, John Caruso ’19, Yu Xie ’20, and Nicole Ventura ’20.

“I’m so proud of the dedicated efforts of our clinical students, both past and present,” said Bechtel. “The pandemic has posed many challenges as well as created great need for our services, and our students have met the challenges head-on.”

The other fall semester 2020 students also provided crucial assistance to low-income cooperatives and a nonprofit lender. Audrey Abate ’21 and Jonathan Fertig ’21 conducted research and drafted bylaws amendments for a co-op building with only one member on its board of directors, leading to a remote board election and setting the stage for negotiations with the city over a real estate tax exemption and a mortgage refinance. Lucy Martin ’21 and Heather Foti ’21 drafted a leasehold mortgage and closing escrow agreement for a deal involving both a land trust transfer and a loan from a nonprofit lender. The lender’s innovative program was developed to rescue homeowners from foreclosure.