Avamore Capital, the specialist bridging and development SME property lender, has completed a 12 month gross facility in the region of £750,000 secured against an office in Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire.
The property previously was a mock-Tudor building that had been the headquarters of the Institute of Professional Photography, known as the Coach House. The developer intends to convert the property into 6x 2 bedroom flats with a combined GDV of approximately £1.3m.
One of the borrower’s principals, Ben Butkus of GCP London, engaged with Avamore’s Principal Michael Dean over the social media platform, Instagram, where they discussed a mutual interest in property development photos. Ben shared a photo of the Coach House and a conversation was sparked over the financing of the project. At the time, another lender was in pole position to provide finance for the development, but were struggling to work around the lack of planning in place for the conversion of the property into residential prior to completion of the property purchase. Michael mentioned to Ben that Avamore Capital could be more flexible with regards to the planning situation, given the experienced property backgrounds of the team, this information helped GCP to make the decision on their lender.
During the exchange, Zuhair Mirza, Michael’s Co-Founder at Avamore was introduced to Raouf Belomoud, Ben’s co-Director. After reviewing the information, Zuhair and Raouf agreed that Avamore would provide a purchase and development facility for GCP’s purchase of the Coach House. Avamore would be able to lend against the purchase price/value which assumed planning was in place for 6 residential units and was 50% higher than the existing use value) even if the planning/PDR had not been granted.
Avamore was able to provide this due to their engagement of Mark Batchelor of planning consultants Peacock & Smith. Batchelor assessed the probability of the planning to be granted. As the planning application was a permitted development application from offices to residential, the development might have appeared straightforward, but due to the age of the property combined with further factors, this was not entirely clear cut. However, Batchelor’s advice enabled Avamore to take a view and the facility was granted.
GCP London Director Ben Butkus said: “This has been our first transaction with Avamore Capital, they have exceeded our expectations above and beyond. We love the transparent approach and commercial views on solving challenges along the way. Based on the level of service and value they add to developers, I look forward to seeing their business go from strength to strength. We are very excited to grow our relationship with the team and do business again in the future.”
Zuhair Mirza, Director of Avamore Capital said: “GCP is an exciting up and coming developer, who are active across the south and east of England, areas where we like to lend to. There is a great synergy between them and us, with both companies being vibrant, diverse and hungry organisations keen to grow. I understood this project from the moment I visited the site, with no doubt in my mind that it was a cracking scheme and GCPs investors should be very happy with the deal they are about to do. I have no doubt many more will be lining up to back them on their next deal. Avamore very much hope to help GCP with their next project whenever and wherever that might be.”
David Powell of TWM Solicitors represented Avamore Capital