Investec Structured Property Finance has provided Comer Homes with a €52.1m (£45m) loan facility for the development of the landmark Royal Winchester House in Bracknell. The project, featuring 311 studio, one, two and three bedroom flats for rent, with retail outlets and resident car parking, is expected to be completed in 2020.
The development is directly opposite The Lexicon, the recently opened retail & leisure centrepiece of Bracknell’s €868.4m (£750m) regeneration scheme, transforming the area into an exciting, vibrant destination for the people of Bracknell Forest and the wider Thames Valley area. Bracknell is a popular commuter town, with Waterloo accessible in 60 minutes, sitting at the centre of the M3/M4 employment corridor which is home to a number of leading IT and technology businesses.
The five-year loan is the second facility Investec provided for Comer Homes, following a facility for 168 apartments in Harrow sold to a PRS operator in 2015. It also further demonstrates Investec’s ability to support clients employing a develop-to-hold strategy, with the provision of a development loan that converts to an investment loan.
Brian Comer, Chairman (UK) of Comer Group, commented: “The Comer Group has been delighted to again benefit from the support and expertise of the Investec team. We look forward to bringing this prestigious development to fruition with their continued support. This project, designed by an internationally renowned team, exemplifies the future aspirations of Bracknell as the jewel of the Thames Valley which the Comer Group is proud to be a part of.”
Robert Sheppard, Head of Portfolio (UK) of Comer Group, commented: “The Structured Property Finance team of Investec has again provided flexible and intuitive engagement which we have found to greatly benefit our funded construction model within the changing construction & housing environment. We have been able to adjust procurement and management modelling parameters in order to optimise performance during the construction phase. The ability of our finance partners to allow us to innovate and to understand our objectives, whilst still adhering to their own remit, has greatly assisted in keeping our construction model lean and focused.”
Steve Cook, at Investec Structured Property Finance, commented: ‘We are delighted to be working closely with the Comer Group. The Bracknell regeneration project is one of the largest schemes of its kind currently being undertaken in the UK, and the Comer Homes development is a key part of the final product. As the UK Private Rented Sector goes from strength to strength, we are increasingly seeing investors identify opportunities outside of London offering favourable returns. Our ability to provide innovative financing that spans the borrowers intended lifecycle has been recognised by Comer Homes, with whom we have built a strong relationship following the success of Harrow.The financial and logistical benefits for a client in being able to have the option of a seamless transition from a development to investment loan with the same lender are numerous, and we anticipate this being an increasing feature of our loan book during 2018, with a supportive macro environment and the ongoing retrenchment by traditional lenders creating this market opportunity.”