Topland backs the LJ Group with £36m

Jan 2014

Topland, headed by Sol Zakay has provided a £36m senior debt bridging piece to LJ Group to enable planning to be sought for five-acre site on the ultra-exclusive Bishops Avenue, N2.

Bishops Avenue, once known as ‘Millionaires’ Row’ could now more realistically be called ‘Billionaires’ Row’ because of occupiers like the House of Saud and the President of Kazakhstan.

To date Topland, one of the largest privately owned international investment groups, has completed close to 50 loans in excess of £300m. In the third quarter of this year alone, the firm deployed £100m by means of a wide variety of funding structures including joint ventures, bridging loans, senior development loans and mezzanine finance with a focus on prime residential development.

LJ Group is a leading independent, privately held multi-family office providing family office, investment advisory, merchant banking, trust and fiduciary services, to individuals, family offices and foundations. LJ Capital is the merchant banking arm of the Group making direct investments in alternative assets classes primarily in real estate and private equity.

LJ Capital’s opportunistic LJ Special Situations Fund A LP exchanged on the off market deal in just 48 hours to acquire the five-acre site made up of six plots and 10 existing properties.

LJ has retained boutique design-and-build company Harrison Varma as their planning and development partner. It is a leading developer of luxury residential property in Hampstead and Highgate. Harrison Varma currently has projects in excess of £250m in various stages from development to construction, including their latest offering Buxmead on Bishops Avenue, a collection of 20 fully-serviced apartments set in 2.5 acres of landscaped gardens with outstanding facilities and services including 24/7 concierge and maid services, 25m indoor pool, spa, 25 person cinema and more.

LJ was advised by Summit Property Advisors, Charles Russell LLP and Brown Rudnick LLP.

LJ Capital also backs Queensgate Investments and Osprey Equity Partners. The Queensgate Investments Fund I was launched by LJ Capital and Jason Kow in April 2012 with £500m of equity. Queensgate’s acquisitions include a three hectare site on the River Thames from O2 owner AEG and the serviced office provider, Executive Offices Group. Osprey Equity Partners specialise in the forward funding of long only income assets and recently completed the funding of over £100m of food store assets let to Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Topland Group chairman Sol Zakay said: “Topland always seeks to back the best in class. LJ Group has proved itself to be a very savvy investor and this opportunity is potentially one of the best prospects currently available in the prime London residential property market”.

Andrew Williams CEO of LJ Group said: “We particularly enjoyed working with Topland on this acquisition. Its ability to move very quickly was paramount in enabling us to complete the transaction.”