Topland lending set to exceed £200m forecast at the beginning of year

Jan 2014

Topland, headed by Sol Zakay, reports that at the end of the third quarter of this year it has deployed £190m of the additional £200m it announced it had injected into its property lending business in February.

In the third quarter alone of this year it 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.

To date close to 50 loans have been completed in excess of £300m. The established book is now maturing with a number of redemptions having been and set to be made.

A notable transaction in the last quarter was a £36m bridging loan for a developer to get planning on a five- acre site on ultra-exclusive Bishops Avenue, N2 once known as “Millionaires’ Row” it has now the moniker of “Billionaires Row” because of occupiers like the House of Saud and the President of Kazakhstan.

Topland lending manager Antony Iannaccone said joint venture equity was proving particularly attractive to developer and investor clients. The ability to write equity cheques is a real competitive edge, as it enables those developers with the right background and experience to share the capital burden and obtain senior debt on lower rates whilst at the same time reducing the exposure to comparatively higher priced mezzanine debt.

“We will shortly conclude a prime residential development joint venture with a gross development value (GDV) in excess of £20m. We will be providing £3m of equity and we have a healthy pipeline of similar deals. In April in a JV with Urban Exposure we acquired a prime 3.4-acre site Dawn Hill, on the Wentworth Estate, Surrey, by the famous golf course, with plans to build a 25,000 sq ft mansion, with a GDV in excess of £30m. Not only has work now started but we also secured an increase in the planning permission to 28,000 sq ft.”

In prime Belgravia at Chester Square Topland provided a £12m mezzanine loan which assisted a private developer to acquire an adjoining mews house to complete a development of a 10,000 sq ft town- house with an estimated GDV in excess of £50m.

At nearby Chesham Street Topland has provided a £16m senior development loan to luxury residential developer Fenton Whelan to acquire an apartment block to create a £40m scheme of six state-of-the-art apartments.

But Topland lending manager Edward Matthews adds it’s not just residential that Topland has been funding. ”We have recognised that developers in more alternative sectors such as hotels and student housing and other permitted development plays have found the funding environment difficult and too slow. We now provide a rapid funding solution to ease such scenarios.

“Recent deals Topland has funded include a £7.5m bridging facility for new hotel concept Urban Villa to enable a switch in planning from office to hotel on the edge of the City and a £3m acquisition and development loan, completed within three days to English Rose Estates to convert a former Coventry hotel to student housing.”

Topland structured finance director Tom Betts said: “Topland is a lender but can think like a developer and an investor. We deal with clients how we would like to be dealt with. We make fast decisions and deliver rapid solutions to funding challenges. These strong credentials have seen us increasingly becoming the alternative lender of choice for the broking community.”

Topland CEO Sol Zakay said: “The success of Topland Group has been built not only on our asset management skills but also by our capital management expertise. One of the strengths of our lending business is now other savvy developers can benefit from not only our balance sheet but our experience too.”