Simon Baron Development is tapping into crowdfunding to finance its planned 467-unit rental tower in Long Island City. CityFunders, a crowdfunding startup just launched by brothers Albert and David Behin, is raising $1 million in equity for the project, with a minimum individual investment of $5,000. The move is noteworthy because real estate crowdfunders across the U.S. have so far shied away from large-scale construction projects, generally focusing on small-scale fix-and-flip loans instead. Rodrigo Nino’s Prodigy Network, which is financing a handful of major projects in Manhattan including 17 John Street, is the major exception. CityFunders’ website extolls an estimated internal rate of return (IRR) of 10 to 11 percent for investors over a holding period of four to five years. Simon Baron Development’s Matthew Baron declined to comment. The developer bought the site near Queens Boulevard for $54 million from Simon Dushinsky’s Rabsky Group in early 2014.
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