ASK and OakNorth Bank complete GBP22m co-loan for next phase of Solihull office-to-resi conversion project

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Real estate funding specialist ASK Partners (ASK) and OakNorth Bank, the UK bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, have provided a combined development and investment facility of GBP22 million secured against a c84,000 sq ft office building on a 3.4-acre site in Solihull, West Midlands.

The borrower is a joint venture between property investment and development company, Investin plc and construction company, Bespoke Construction Ltd, “Bespoke”. The loan will be used to fund phases two and three of an office to residential conversion in Solihull and to provide a “bridge-to-sell” facility on the remaining flats from Phase One. Phase One, also funded by ASK and OakNorth Bank, included the conversion of the first office building into 83 flats under permitted development and reached practical completion in December 2020.

The fully private scheme, known as Broadoaks, has been very successful, with flats finished to a particularly high standard and a remarkable transformation from a visually unimpressive building into an exceptionally attractive development. Sales have been agreed on 51 of the units. Phase 2 will focus on the construction of nine, new townhouses on the site of the former carpark. Phase 3 will be the conversion of another office building into 83 equivalent specification flats, with a further 8 penthouses proposed, subject to planning. 
Solihull is widely considered to be the most affluent town in the West Midlands and a highly desirable residential, retail and office location. With the post-Covid trend for migration out of cities and into well-connected suburbs, interest in the area is rising. The site is a short walk to the retail and leisure offerings of Solihull town centre and also the train station where trains to Birmingham city centre take just 8 minutes. Road networks are already good and the new HS2 interchange station will be situated 6 miles to the east and will provide high-speed services to London in 37 minutes. 
 Roger Lal, Director of Investin plc, says: “We are delighted that phase 1 interest and sales have been so strong. We are looking forward to starting the next phase of construction on the townhouses which we expect to sell fast given the lack of similar housing stock in the local area and the current boom in the housing market.”  
Marvin Bennett, Managing Director of Bespoke Construction, says: “It is exciting to be able to move on to the next phase of what is a flagship project for Bespoke. Having built strong relationships and successfully delivered the stunning transformation in phase 1, we will be continuing to work closely with our valued supply chain in the next phases to ensure we deliver the same unrivalled standard of construction.” 
Hemesh Patel, Property Finance Director at OakNorth Bank, says: “We were delighted to assist with financing the second phase of this development. Given the success of phase 1, we are confident that Investin and Bespoke will deliver equally impressive further phases to this well-designed scheme. We take pride in our ability to successfully fund and support these types of conversions and it has been a pleasure to work with all parties again.” 
Daniel Austin, CEO of ASK Partners, says: “This is an exceptionally well-located and impressive scheme that we were very pleased to help fund. As developer and prime contractor, Investin and Bespoke have done an excellent job on phase 1 and I’m looking forward to seeing further transformation of the site as the scheme progresses.  

"I believe there will be significant interest in the development as the migration trend for second cities continues post-Covid. Many major corporates are taking prime office space in Birmingham, following the talent pool to this university city that will soon also benefit from the high-speed connections of HS2. It was, as always, a pleasure to work with all parties.”