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It’s a deal – Ingenious agrees bridging loan in Digbeth, Birmingham

Ingenious has announced that Ingenious Real Estate Finance has completed a bridging loan deal with Cole Waterhouse to support its development of a key site in Digbeth, Birmingham.

This will pave the way for the establishment of Upper Trinity Street (UTS), a £260 million mixed-use scheme which will aim to deliver 943 homes along with a new public park for the city.

Deal made


With Auxillium Real Estate acting as the debt broker, Ingenious Real Estate entered into an agreement with Cole Waterhouse to agree a bridging loan over 24 months; the goal being the acquisition of the land from multiple private owners.

The purchase comes after Birmingham City Council granted planning permission in July 2021 for the transformation of the industrial land into a cultural, commercial, and residential scheme. What's more, it will include the creation of Pump House Park, which will sit alongside the canal and the historic lock keepers’ cottage which will be retained.

Howard Sefton, senior director of real estate at Ingenious, said: “We are delighted to have secured a significant acquisition bridging deal in Birmingham with experienced developer, Cole Waterhouse. The facility will enable the acquisition and amalgamation of multiple land parcels of a key development site in Digbeth. The deal paves the way for the transformation of industrial land into a cultural, commercial and residential scheme delivering up to 943 homes, new public park and commercial aspects – Upper Trinity Street.”

Tenants in place 

Last year, Cole Waterhouse signed the first tenants at UTS including the world’s first Museum of Youth Culture, Birmingham Music Archive and Digbeth’s Pat Benson Boxing Academy, which together will occupy over 15,000 square feet of space.

Carefully designed by Corstorphine & Wright, UTS will aim to deliver a blend of rentable and open market sale homes, some with live-work space and roof gardens, a 133-bedroom hotel, 60,000 square feet of flexible commercial space, car parking, and large new areas of public realm across a network of landscaped yards, squares and hidden spaces.

The development of UTS is expected to create 600 jobs during the construction phase, deliver £229.5 million (GVA) to the local economy and will additionally also create up to 313 more jobs once built.

Phase one will see the development of a portion of the residential element of the scheme comprising Build to Rent housing.

Damian Flood, chief executive officer at Cole Waterhouse, commented: “With the land now successfully acquired, we look forward to the delivery of this major mixed-use scheme. Over the course of the next few months, we will be further engaging with our preferred contractor network and finalising the construction program for phase one, with an aim to start on site by Q3 next year.

We will also be appointing a real estate adviser to support us with marketing the residential offer both locally and internationally.

“There has been a huge collaborative effort from the stakeholders including the City Council, the local community of Digbeth, the Canal & River Trust and our project team. I would like to thank everyone for supporting our vision and for their unwavering commitment to the delivery of UTS.”

Niall Brown, Auxilium Real Estate, commented: “With the current market headwinds, closing this complex deal required great effort and coordination from everyone involved. Working with Ingenious was invaluable as together we were able to negotiate the various intricacies resulting in an excellent outcome for Cole Waterhouse, and what will be a leading scheme in the Digbeth area when complete.”

Solid loans for sufficient support

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 £600 million worth of transactions. The current portfolio balance is weighted towards residential, with the majority of Ingenious developments qualifying for Help to Buy.

Ingenious Real Estate continues to secure deals with, among others, loans totalling £26 million to support the development of 55 new-build family homes in Somerset and Devon; an industrial loan in Battersea, South West London for planning for a modern 8-unit warehouse and logistics scheme spanning over 30,000 square feet; a development facility to fund 48 industrial units at Magna Park near Poole; and a bridging finance deal in Felixstowe for 19 two, three and four bed houses.

Sefton continues: “We continue to see record growth year-on-year, a direct result of the fantastic team we have here at Ingenious which is continuing to expand in both size and expertise. We remain cautiously optimistic about the prospects for the real estate sector, particularly the continued demand for residential space. There has been ongoing government support to meet the acute housing shortage in the UK and we are committed to supporting real estate developers with flexible financing solutions to meet demand.”

Ingenious believes that the successful loan agreements represent the continued demand for residential real estate development across the UK, despite initial concerns around delays to construction as a result of Covid-19.


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