OakNorth completes £21m loan to Strawberry Star for major new mixed-use development in Wandsworth

Sarah Dunsby

Source: @Photoshot

Here’s what they had to say

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has completed a debt finance deal of £21m to Strawberry Star, the decade-old property development company that has facilitated over £600m in aggregate property investments. RM Secured Direct Lending, which specialises in tailored debt solutions, has provided a further £4.9m of debt. JLL Residential Capital Markets acted as funding advisor to Strawberry Star.

The finance will be used to develop 77 residential units (c.56,000 sq. ft.), 24,000 sq. ft of flexible work space, and 2,000 sq. ft. café / restaurant accommodation at Buckhold Road in Wandsworth. The Sales will be jointly managed by Strawberry Star Lettings and Sales and JLL. The property has full planning consent so construction will begin in September and last 24 months, with completion expected in Q3 2019. The site is located just a 10-minute walk from Wandsworth Town train station, providing quick access into Waterloo and Victoria via Clapham Junction.

Famed for their outside space, Battersea, Clapham and Wandsworth have seen a significant transformation over the past 40 years into some of the most sought after housing locations in the capital. In fact, Wandsworth contains the highest proportion of green space of any London borough, and boasts 117 schools, including 98 primary schools and a wide range of independent schools. While the average price of flats in the borough over the last five years was £489,252, the last 12 months has witnessed a notable increase to £557,882.

Santhosh Gowda established Strawberry Star ten years ago, and has overseen investment in over 700 luxury apartments across London since, including several high-profile projects such as the 360-apartment Hoola, Royal Docks in East London, and the 36-storey Sky Gardens tower in Nine Elms. Meanwhile, Managing Director Nick Stonley who joined the company in 2015, has over 35 years’ experience in residential property development, having held Managing Director positions at both United House Developments and Berkeley Homes.

Commenting on the deal, Santhosh Gowda, Founder & Chairman of Strawberry Star, said: “Wandsworth is one of London’s most popular areas and is in desperate need ofnew homes – the borough requires 18,000 new homes a year until 2025 to keep up with demand, so we’re delighted to have OakNorth and RM Secured Debt Lending’s support, and look forward to development getting underway.”

In a joint statement, Ben Barbanel, Head of Debt Finance, and Damien Hughes, Property Finance Director at OakNorth, commented: “Since our launch in September 2015, we have been focused on one thing; solving the problem of scaling non-standard lending in the UK, backing quality management teams in the process. Santosh and Nick are a perfect example of this – together, they have over 65 years’ experience leading successful mixed-use and purely residential projects, both here in the UK and abroad. Their track record speaks for itself and we’re delighted to have been selected as their debt finance provider for this flagship development.”

Pietro Nicholls, Principal at RM Secured Direct Lending, added: “We are delighted to support Strawberry Star on this exciting new development and to be supporting OakNorth for the second time. We share OakNorth’s ambition to back quality management teams such as Santosh and Nick, and enabling them to further their growth with tailored debt solutions.”

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