DOUGLAS D. DANFORTH Managing director PNC Corporate Finance, Pittsburgh

Douglas D. Danforth of PNC Corporate Finance has managed to thrive amid the wreckage in the nation's real estate markets.

Last year, as a director in the corporate finance unit of PNC Financial Corp., Mr. Danforth was able to arrange two large construction loans at a time when such lending by banks was at a survival halt.

The coup helped earn the 36-year-old banker a promotion to managing director, in charge of loan syndications and acquisition finance at the unit.

The construction loans, totaling $125 million, let Foulger Pratt Cos. complete its Metro Center, an office development in Silver Spring, Md. The builder, who completed the first two phases of construction, hired PNC to arrange loans for the final two buildings after its Washington-area loan sources dried up.

It helped that the buildings were fully preleased to government's National Oceanopgrahic and Atmospheric Administration. But still, finding banks to help finance the deal wasn't easy.

"The challenge was in identifying lenders that have the capacity to make real estate loans of any quality," Mr. Danforth says.

He got three U.S. banks to participate and also tapped lenders from Germany, Japan, Finland, and Ireland. The part of the complex financed by PNC, and under construction now, will have 785,000 square feet of office space, plus garages that are leased to Montgomery County, Md., with 1,465 parking spaces.

Mr. Danforth says that finding nontraditional investors will be among the keys to success for banks in both real estate and corporate lending.

Financial creativity will be important, too. "Banks are going to need to be able to provide advice on the entire capital structure, from the senior bank debt we specialize in now to subordinated debt and equity," he says.

He received a bachelor's degree from Duke in 1977 and a master's degree in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon University in 1981.

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