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Bernanke’s Hester Street home

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The Federal Reserve may not want to crow about the half-empty giant shopping mall it now owns in Oklahoma City by virture of its hastily-arranged rescue of Bear Stearns. But at least one other commercial real estate deal that the Fed picked up from Bear appears to be in better shape.

One loan now in the Fed’s portfolio is a mortgage Bear made to the developer of an upscale condominium building in lower Manhattan called The Machinery Exchange. The 14-unit complex at the corner of Hester and Baxter streets is located on the edge of Chinatown and got a favorable write-up from The New York Times in 2007 because of its architectural style.

The developers bought the 94-year-old seven-story former machine warehouse in 2005 for $10 million. Real estate records indicate that Bear provided the financing for that deal. The developers also raised an additional $25 million in construction financing from other investors–although it’s not clear if Bear was part of that transaction.

Either way, it appears the project, where some units were priced at between $1 million and $5 million, is in fairly good shape. The website for renovated building says no units are availalble–usually a sign that all of the apartments were sold.

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