Image Source: Herry Lawford
Rebecca Wayman

OakNorth seals £21m deal with Strawberry Star for a new Wandsworth development

OakNorth has completed a debt finance deal of £21m to Strawberry Star, the 10-year-old property development company that has facilitated over £600m in aggregate property investments.

RM Secured Direct Lending, which specialises in tailored debt solutions, has funded a further £4.9m of debt, while JLL Residential Capital Markets acted as funding advisor to Strawberry Star.

The finance provided will be used to develop 77 residential units of 56,000 sq-ft in flexible work space, along with a 2,000 sq-ft cafe and restaurant accommodation at Buckhold Road in Wandsworth.

Santhosh Gowda, founder and chairman of Strawberry Star, said: “Wandsworth is one of London’s most popular areas and is in desperate need of new 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. [We] look forward to getting development underway.”

Gowda established the company a decade ago, and has overseen investment of over 700 luxury apartments across London with Strawberry Star since its beginnings. The business has seen her involved in high-profile projects such as the 360-apartment Hoola in Royal Docks, East London, and the 36-storey Sky Gardens tower in Nine Elms.

Full planning consent means construction will begin this month lasting for two years, with completion expected in 2019. The site just a 10-minute walk away from Wandsworth Town train station which provides convenient access into Waterloo and Victoria via Clapham Junction.

Wandsworth contains the biggest proportion of green space in any of the capital’s boroughs, including 117 schools, while the area’s average price of flats has notably increased to around £557k in the past five years.

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.”

In addition, managing director Nick Stonley, who joined the company in 2015, has over 35 years of experience in residential property development, having held managing director positions at both United House Developments and Berkeley Homes.

The principal at RM Secured Direct Lending, Pietro Nicholls, said: “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, and enabling them to further their growth with tailored debt solutions.”

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