Kennedy Funding closes $5.1M loan on 437-acre winery in during holiday rush

Englewood-based private lender Kennedy Funding on Tuesday announced that the last month of 2023 brought several successful closings, including a $5.1 million loan for the acquisition of a 2.5-story, 12,750-square-foot single-family home. The property is part of a 437-acre winery in Chesapeake City, Maryland.

Notably, Kennedy Funding closed the loan in eight business days, when traditional lending can take weeks or months to close. The loan commitment was executed Dec. 14, and closed Dec. 27, in the midst of the peak holiday season, a period when obtaining real estate financing typically takes longer, especially from traditional funding sources.

This was the third loan Kennedy Funding closed in the last week of December.

“You need to anticipate challenges and delays during the holiday season, and you need to know how to navigate them while still meeting the borrower’s needs in a timely fashion,” Kevin Wolfer, CEO and president of Kennedy Funding, said. “At Kennedy Funding, we have the experience and know-how to assess potential deals on next-to-impossible timelines and get funding in the hands of borrowers at any time of the year.”

The borrower, AE Bohemia Manor Farm LLC, will use the proceeds toward its $8.9 million purchase of the property. AE Bohemia Manor Farm intends to maintain the current operations of Chateau Bu-De Winery & Vineyard, along with its five catering establishments and bed-and-breakfast, in collaboration with VIVÂMEE Hospitality, which manages three other luxury resorts.

The winery includes a 15,000-square-foot building with a tasting room, a ballroom, entertainment spaces and a full catering kitchen with food served on-site. Chateau Bu-De Winery & Vineyard hosts 30,000 visitors per year, with just under 60,000 vines of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and other widely sought-after wines. Weddings and events at the winery are booked well into 2024.

Wolfer said Kennedy Funding evaluates its lending prospects largely on their value to the surrounding community, and the winery’s popularity was a clear sign of that value.

“Direct private lenders like us are free to examine the merits of a deal, without being forced to tick certain boxes or meet potentially irrelevant criteria,” Wolfer said. “Between Chateau Bu-De Winery & Vineyard’s gorgeous waterfront scenery, stunning bed-and-breakfast space, state-of-the-art vineyard, catering and event spaces, we were fully confident that the borrower’s purchase would elevate the Chesapeake City community.”

Located under two miles from the Maryland-Delaware border; half an hour southwest of Wilmington, Delaware; and an hour northeast of Baltimore, Chesapeake City is a quaint town of 736 people, according to the 2020 census. The town’s founder, Augustine Herman, was the first lord of the manor on which Chateau Bu-De Winery & Vineyard is situated.