The First Investor (TFI), the investment banking division of the Barwa Bank Group, has been awarded “Real Estate Deal of the Year” by Islamic Finance News for securing Shari’ah compliant real estate construction financing of US$390 million for the landmark, mixed-use CityCenterDC (CCDC) project currently under construction in downtown Washington, D.C.

Islamic Finance News, the leading provider of news and commentary on the global Islamic finance sector, presented Khalid Al Subeai, the CEO of TFI, with the prestigious award at a ceremony held on 24th February at the Ritz Carlton DIFC, Dubai.

The anchor investor in CCDC is the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company (Qatari Diar), the real estate investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority. The Fund is managed by TFI and advised by Tanween, a Qatari real estate development management and consulting firm. TFI is emerging as one of the most respected investment banking firms within the region, combining Qatari leadership with both international and local expertise to provide dedicated services in Investment Banking, Asset Management and Real Estate Investment. The development manager for CCDC is the Hines organization, a recognized world leader in real estate development.

Mr Al Subeai commented, “We are honoured to be acknowledged by Islamic Finance News and our industry peers through this award. The CCDC Project represented one of Qatar’s first major real estate investments in the U.S., and one which I am confident marks the beginning of a long and successful U.S. - Qatari partnership in premium real estate investment and development. Progress-to-date on all fronts is testament to the proven, world-class financial investment and development management capabilities of Qatari Diar, TFI, Tanween, and Hines.”

He added “TFI (in its capacity as the Fund Manager) was proud to be able to secure and structure this Shari’ah complaint financing at very competitive terms. Optimizing the capital structure of the Fund adds further value to Fund investors. The attractive financing terms offered by the J.P. Morgan-led syndicate are a further validation of the project’s profile and strong commercial merits”.

The Project is a pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood with more than 185,000 square feet of retail situated at the base of six buildings that encompass 458 rental apartment units, 216 condominium units and 525,000 square feet of office space. CityCenterDC has already been very well received and has leased 95 percent of its office space and sold more than 70 percent of its condominium residences since they premiered a year ago. In addition, the apartment leasing program commenced last year with an encouraging reception from the local community.

TFI and Hines led the process of negotiating, structuring and securing the construction financing. The J.P. Morgan led the syndicate provided a $390 million commitment for Istisna'a construction finance which closed in May 2013.  The financing is among the largest Shari’ah complaint financings completed in the US.