Retail Store Converted Into Luxury Multifamily Building

Walker & Dunlop structured $35.4 million in construction financing for a mall-to-multifamily redevelopment in Mary Esther, Fla.
Renaissance Santa Rosa. Image courtesy of Walker & Dunlop

A former department store at the Santa Rosa Mall in Mary Esther, Fla., will be redeveloped into a luxury community with 229 units. Renaissance Santa Rosa will be developed by Rea Ventures Group and Radiant Partners.

Working through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Walker & Dunlop structured $35.4 million in construction financing for the redevelopment. The company used HUD’s 221(d) (4) construction program to finance the project.


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Because it incorporates both construction and permanent financing in the same fixed-rate loan, the program reduces interest rate risk for the developers. HUD’s Green mortgage insurance premium (MIP) reduction program was also leveraged by the Walker & Dunlop team to provide its clients with a favorable interest rate.

Renaissance Santa Rosa will be a luxury apartment property featuring one-, two- and three-bedroom residences across four separate buildings. Each apartment unit will offer a private patio or balcony and upscale finishes and features. Among the more prominent amenities will be a two-story clubhouse. The Santa Rosa Mall next door will offer residents a number of nightlife, shopping and dining-out options.

Walker & Dunlop’s team was led by FHA experts Frank Baldasare and Heather Olson. The two collaborated with capital market experts Al Rex and Marty McGrogan. The financing came just days after Walker & Dunlop announced financing had been arranged for a 130-unit affordable housing community in Tennessee.

From Mall to Multifamily

In a major e-commerce trend gaining popularity throughout the country, portions of major shopping malls are being repurposed into new types of structures, mostly hotels or multifamily communities. The malls already are places where people shop, dine and work. By adding a housing component, they are transitioned into live-work-play destinations.

Built in 1976, the Santa Rosa Mall was once anchored by four department stores—Dillard’s, JCPenney, Sears and Belk—but the last two have closed in recent years. It is the former Belk store that is being razed to make way for Renaissance Santa Rosa. The mixed-use community is slated for completion in late 2020.