Mitsui Links with Realty Broker To Guide Japanese Banks in N.Y.

An affiliate of Mitsui Bank and Trust and Mitsui Taiyo Kobe Bank has formed a partnership with Edward S. Gordon Co., a leading New York real estate broker, in hope of giving Japanese banks a firmer toehold in a slippery market.

Japanese bank participants in construction loans that have gone sour find themselves poorly prepared for a cutthroat market, said David Levinson, senior managing director of Edward S. Gordon Co. "They are not as confrontational as domestic banks."

He said Sanwa Bank's sale of a midtown New York City office building to European investors for about $16 million exemplified the Japanese banks' difficulty. Sanwa had lent developer Howard Ronson $75 million to $80 million for the project.

The joint venture, Mitsui/ ESG, could give Japanese property owners an edge in attracting new leases from more than 1,000 Japanese firms based in New York.

It also could help them corner what ESG officials predicted would be a second wave of Japanese business expansion into the United States.

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