Specialist lender Together is granting over £800,000 to buy and develop an idle office block, enabling a development company to expand its buy-to-let portfolio.
The finance company will provide a total of £806,000 for the redevelopment of the 1960s-built Fell House building in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Paul Rothwell and Emma Thompson will undertake a major conversion project to turn the empty block into 32 self-contained one-bedroom flats. The property investors aim to make the four-storey building encourage further developments from empty buildings.
Rothwell has spent 13 years building a £33 million property portfolio, with his south Yorkshire-based company Empire Property Concepts devoted to buying disused commercial buildings, renovating them, and then letting the properties as rental homes (rather than converting existing residential properties).
As Empire’s founder and managing director, Rothwell had visions on renovating the empty building, transforming it from an ‘uninspiring’ building to a great place to live.
“This latest project will go towards meeting the growing demand for housing and attract people into the city centre,” he said.
Together has provided a £300,000 short-term loan for the purchase, and another £506,000 towards development costs.
Barry Dillon, Together’s regional development director for Yorkshire, commented: “This just shows how popular buy-to-let remains among forward-thinking property investors, despite changes to the sector.”
“At a time when there is a severe shortage of housing across the UK, this redevelopment is one project which will provide more than 30 affordable rental units,” he continued. “It would be great to see others investing in similar projects.”
The development is located in the city centre, and was previously used as an office building for West Yorkshire Police before being purchased by Empire for redevelopment. This venture will include improvements to the outside of the building, such as fitting new window panels and rendering.
Yorkshire law firm hlw Keeble Hawson is also backing the deal.
The firm’s partner, Paul Goel, said: “Having witnessed the sustained growth and success of Empire Property Concepts, we were delighted to apply our expertise to enable the development company to further expand its buy-to-let portfolio.”