£7m central London development finance for Monegasque client

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THE SCENARIO

I recently arranged finance for a client residing in Monaco who owned a commercial property in prime central London. This client intended to keep the facade of the property but redevelop and refurbish behind the scenes, such as adding a new floor. He already had the planning permission to do so, however, he wanted to secure a more sensible rate than the 3.5% rate with his current lender. The total value of the property was approximately £14 million and he required borrowing of £7 million to fund his objectives.

This property also came with a complex ownership structure as it actually belonged to his parents in trust, who were both in their eighties and living in Italy. Despite not technically owning the property himself, my client was the settlor who managed the family’s finance and assets.

The first bank we approached was prepared to lend for the refinance and refurbishment aspect of the deal but not for anything else, while every other lender considered this as development finance and would charge a rate of up to 6% or 7%.

Despite this, I was able to contact a different private bank that was willing to help my client on the grounds of building a greater relationship with him. Even though he did not actually own the property, they understood the nature of his case and were willing to not charge the high prices usually associated with development finance.

This lender was willing to lend £7 million, which was enough to pay off the existing debt, capital raise for the development works and still leave enough for my client to re-invest in other areas afterwards.

I managed to secure all of this at a rate of just 2.74% plus the base rate on a 5-year term. This also came with no Early Repayment Charges or Asset Under Management day one requirements, as the lender was happy to build a relationship with the client first. This is often the case for private and specialist banks, as they focus more on client relationships and case-by-case circumstances than rigid criteria.

This was a hugely beneficial and lucrative result for my client, providing all the necessary finance to complete his goals but still at a very affordable rate.