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Dev roundup – major loans and Leeds redevelopment project underway

Real estate funding specialist ASK Partners and OakNorth Bank have completed a £22 million co-loan for the next phase of an office to residential conversion project in Solihull, West Midlands.

The borrower is a joint venture between property investment and development company Investin plc and construction firm Bespoke Construction Ltd.

The loan will be used to fund phases 2 and 3 of the project and to provide a ‘bridge-to-sell’ facility on the remaining flats from Phase 1 – also funded by ASK and OakNorth Bank.


Phase 1 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 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 eight penthouses proposed, subject to planning.

With the post-Covid trend for migration out of cities and into well-connected suburbs, interest in Solihull is rising.

The site is a short walk to the retail and leisure offerings of Solihull town centre and the train station where trains to Birmingham city centre take just eight minutes. The new HS2 interchange station will be situated six miles to the east, providing high-speed services to London in 37 minutes. 

Hemesh Patel, property finance director at OakNorth Bank, comments: “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, chief executive officer of ASK Partners, adds: “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.”

Ingenious completes two new development loans totalling £12.8m

Ingenious Real Estate Finance LLP has completed two new loans totalling £12.8 million to fund new residential development projects in North Devon and the Cotswolds.

The firm is providing funding for the development of 22 apartments to a joint venture between Indigo Capital Solutions and Blakesley Estates in the seaside town of Westward Ho!, North Devon.

The facility is £5.3 million over a 22-month term, with a Loan-to-Gross-Development-Value (LTGDV) of 69%. The apartments will benefit from sea views and be completed to a high specification.

In addition, Ingenious has partnered with established new homes builder Piper Homes to finance a £7.5 million loan for 26 family homes (four flats and 22 houses) in the village of Upper Rissington in the Cotswolds. The loan term is 21 months with a LTGDV of 70%.


The new homes will be ideally situated just a short walk from the outstanding Rissington Primary School as well as local amenities. It will mark the third project on which Ingenious has partnered with Piper Homes.

Tom Brown, managing director of real estate at Ingenious, comments: “We’re really pleased to be able to support these two projects in Devon and the Cotswolds. This represents the third time we have worked with Piper Homes and we’re delighted to be working with them again on this exciting new development.”

“As the economy continues to reopen and recover, we are determined to source, fund and commit to high-quality developments across the UK and continue to seek further, similar development opportunities.”

He adds: “We are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for the real estate sector, particularly the continued demand for residential property, and we remain committed to providing flexible, cost-effective financing solutions for our clients.”

Formed in 2013, Ingenious Real Estate focuses on providing senior development and bridging finance to well-designed schemes in locations across the UK that have a proven demand. Typical loan terms are 18-30 months, and the team has since completed more than £480 million worth of transactions.

The current portfolio balance is weighted towards residential, with the majority of Ingenious developments qualifying for Help to Buy.

Major redevelopment scheme on Leeds site gets the go-ahead

DLA Architecture has secured planning consent, on behalf of its client Metropolitan and District Securities (MDS), to deliver a major new mixed-use scheme at Quarry Hill in Leeds city centre.

St Cecilia Place is a new development on the site of the former Quarry Hill flats that were demolished over 40 years ago.  The scheme will comprise 352 Build to Rent (BTR) residential apartments along with amenity spaces and commercial units.

The DLA design approach includes three ‘elegant’ interlinked tall buildings ranging in height of 19, 20 and 22 storeys with each connected by a pair of eight-storey structures. The residential space will offer studios, one bed, two bed and three-bed apartments. The ground floor public realm includes two courtyards, communal facilities with cycle storage and a residents car park.

Working alongside ID Planning, DLA secured approval from officers who acknowledged that the scheme delivers efficient use of a prime site and ‘would make a valuable contribution to housing needs in the city’ as well as job creation.

St Cecilia Place forms a critical part of the overall development at Quarry Hill which links Playhouse Square in the west to Quarry House in the east. Adjacent developments include the mixed-use SOYO scheme, the new Leeds City College building and the redevelopment of West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Sue Sparling, director at DLA Architecture, says: “We are delighted to secure planning consent for MDS to deliver St Cecilia Place.”

“The site itself is located on St Cecilia Street and through early consultation we established St Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians and therefore, it felt appropriate the development should be known as St Cecilia Place.

She adds: “Our design approach recognises the historic building fabric and characteristics of the island site whilst also complementing the more recent developments in the area. A significant level of both internal and external amenity space is incorporated with large communal roof gardens creating vibrant spaces with far-reaching views of the wider city.”

The building forms create two south-facing landscaped courtyards, along with ecological and visual enhancement of the retained landscape corridor to the north of the site which is part of the wider Leeds Habitat Network.

DLA is very familiar with the Leeds landscape having consulted on major developments including the award-winning office scheme at The Majestic in the city centre.

It is currently designing the redevelopment of the former Leeds Technology Campus site, also for MDS, the new £270 million landmark mixed-use development on the former International Swimming Pool site at Lisbon Street and the refurbishment of 12 King Street to provide over 54,000 sq ft of new workplace.

£2bn development programme in urban retirement communities unveiled

Retirement Villages Group (RVG) has announced a £2 billion investment boost to drive forward its latest sites and over 40 more new sites across the UK.

The sites are being developed in response to rising demand from those aged 65-plus for a better quality of later-life accommodation.

RVG says it will create schemes that are open and integrated with local communities, allowing its customers to stay connected to the places where they live, while ‘breathing new life into UK town centres for the benefit of everyone living locally’.

The announcement follows two new landmark planning approvals to develop a £110 million retirement community in central West Byfleet, Surrey, as well as a new £65 million community in Chester.

The first site in West Byfleet secured final reserved matters consent, with work set to commence this summer. The development will replace a 1960s office block and shopping precinct with 195 apartments for retirement living.

It will combine a range of shared community facilities for multi-generational use, as well as new retail units, a wellness centre and community space all centred around a village square.

The second site in Chester, which represents RVG’s first move into the North West, received detailed approval from the local authority in March, with parish councils and local groups also providing strong endorsement.

Located 10 minutes from the city centre, the site sits adjacent to an existing Park & Ride service, providing a direct link to the centre. Building work is also due to start this summer and when completed the new development will have homes for purchase and rental.

Will Bax, chief executive officer of RVG, comments: “New generations of older people will prize independence, security and community connections more than any other. Increasingly they are looking for a lifestyle choice that promotes independent living and keeps them fit and active for longer.”

“The current options for people looking to downsize are not good enough. We want to change that by putting older people back at the heart of our communities and building homes that enable them to live rich, connected lives safe in the knowledge that support is available when, but not before, they need it.”

The sites will be designed, built and operated in a manner that supports RVG’s sustainability targets as the first retirement living developer to declare whole life net-zero carbon for future development schemes.

Bax adds: “We are delighted to have the support and participation of local councils and communities with both sites. West Byfleet and Chester will be a new breed of urban, inclusive and design-led retirement schemes for the benefit of the over-65s and the wider community.”

“We have a huge opportunity to transform the later living landscape in the UK and hope to secure many more sites like these over the next decade.”

RVG’s target locations focus on well-connected sites in or on the edge of existing town and city centres, enabling people to remain close to families, friends and their existing communities, whilst also adding new amenities and services that create value for everyone.


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