Vantage Pointe: Who Holds the Note?

For San Diego, the troubled Vantage Pointe project is a huge deal. The 40-story tower is San Diego’s biggest condo. Construction was financed at a cost of $210 million — the biggest loan of its kind in city history.

Vantage Pointe now sits on the brink of foreclosure. Its loan is in default and most of its nearly 700 units sit empty.

For the lender, Caisse de Depot et Placement Quebec, Canada’s biggest pension fund, Vantage Pointe amounts to about 2 percent of its holdings of foreign real estate.  If you include Canadian real estate, Vantage Pointe is 1 percent of the $19 billion portfolio.

Caisse has reorganized its real estate division in the wake of devastating losses and a $5 billion writedown last year. That has led to a confusing picture about who actually holds the note.

The Vantage Pointe notice of default identifies the lender as CDPQ Mortgage Corp. (since renamed CDPQ Mortgage Investment Corp.)

CDPQ Mortgage is the official name for Otera Capital Inc., Caisse’s commercial real estate lender with $22 billion in assets. (Canadian records list CDPQ’s mailing address as Otera Capital. CDPQ’s directors are Ross Brennan, Michel Deslauriers, and Marie Giguere are all managers of Otera Capital.)

Caisse’s agent on the deal was MCAP Inc., which manages the pension’s real estate debt.

Caisse has financed other major projects in San Diego. According to its 2009 annual report, the Canadian pension financed 820 W. Ash St. and Caisse holds a stake in a real estate investment trust with properties in San Diego. At one time it co-owned the First National Bank Center at at 4th & A streets, which sold in 2003 for $112 million.

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