OakNorth Continues to Raise the Stakes
The UK Fintech Success story continues to drive innovation across multiple verticals. Most specifically they are supporting major property and infrastructure developments across the country.
OakNorth Get into Property Development
OakNorth announced last week that they have completed an £11.4m loan to Ocea for major new residential development in Redhill, Surrey. This is another example of OakNorth going outside the traditional bubble when you think of Fintechs and investing for the long term.
The financing will be used to convert Furness House, a four-storey office block with 74 accompanying car parking spaces, into 71 residential units, compromising of 66 one bedroom and five two bedroom flats. The site, situated just 500 meters away from Redhill town centre, is also a short walk to Redhill train station, offering regular trains to both London Victoria and London Bridge in less than 35 minutes, with Gatwick Airport being only a 20 minute drive away.
Founded in April 2017 and situated in Southampton, Ocea has an extensive track record in converting commercial properties to residential units, led by experienced Directors, Justine Curtis and Glenn Delve. Previous projects include converting Normandy House in Hemel Hempstead into a five-storey apartment building, consisting of 39 one and two-bedroom units, as well as converting Hampton House in Southampton into 30 apartments, split between city-pads, one-bed and two-bedroomed flats. However, this is Ocea’s largest project to date.
Glenn Delve, Director at Ocea, said: “With plenty of local amenities on offer, as well as excellent transport links to and from London, the Surrey town of Redhill is extremely popular amongst families, young professionals and downsizers. Furthermore, the majority of units on offer in Furness House will qualify for the help to buy scheme, making them ideal for the first-time buyer market.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with OakNorth on what is our largest project to date – the team are extremely well-versed in the property sector and were able to structure a facility that suits our needs.”
Damien Hughes, Senior Director, Property Finance at OakNorth, commented: “This development will bring some much needed new homes to a highly popular commuter town. Given Justine’s and Glenn’s vast experience in the property development sector and their speciality of developing commercial sites, to residential units, Ocea is the perfect developer to take on the project. We look forward to working with them and the wider team at Ocea on additional schemes in the future.”
OakNorth goes back to Uni
This is the second example of such endeavours in the past week. OakNorth have also heavily backed a new development at the University of Hull. They are again supporting major property developers Kexgill.
Having secured a major partnership with the University, Kexgill are one of the leading still wholly privately owned student accommodation providers in the UK.
Kexgill will use the finance from OakNorth to convert four semi-detached houses into 12 studio flats all of which are pre-let and to complete the 200 house purchase known as the University Quarter®. The new accommodation, situated adjoining the campus, will be available for the start of the 2019 academic year. OakNorth lent £12.7m to Kexgill in September last year for a major new development at the University of Hull.
The new development is part of the University Quarter®, a unique partnership between the University of Hull and the Kexgill Group, which aims to provide students with the highest standard of student accommodation and support all within a five-minute walk from the campus.
Richard Stott, Group Managing Director of Kexgill, said: “It was a pleasure to work closely with Hemesh and the team again. OakNorth has been hugely supportive in our growth journey so far and never disappoint when it comes to putting together a bespoke finance package for us in the timeframe that we need it. The University Quarter® forms an essential part of the huge development taking part on and around the campus. Other than units held back the entire Quarter as owned by the Group is fully forward let.”
Hemesh Patel, Property Finance Director at OakNorth said: “Since its launch over 40 years ago, Kexgill has grown to become one of the largest student accommodation providers in the UK, boasting over 3000 student beds across its portfolio. With the majority of its units being forward let, it’s great to see Kexgill’s recipe for success continue in a city that holds sentimental value to them, with their first ever site opening in Hull. We look forward to working with them on future projects and seeing the development once completed.”
It is fantastic to see such innovation from a UK fintech, showcasing that fintech means more than sexy credit cards. OakNorth have been a long term supporter of FinTech Connect and continue to be so, with their CSO Amir Nooralia delivering a keynote at the show in December.