Alt-finance house LendInvest and Merseyside Pension Fund have dished out £12m to developer Rockwell Residential for a 199-unit resi and hotel scheme in Canary Wharf.
Rockwell’s Simpson Haugh & Partners-designed plans for West India Dock Road are being pitched as “the Western Gateway to Canary Wharf”, and include a 37-storey tower, plus retail space and winter gardens and two communal gardens to provide amenity space for residences. It will also pimp the Westferry DLR entrance and surroundings… The surrounding Pennyfields area, incidentally, is generally regarded as London’s original Chinatown; the site’s had big plans previously drawn up in 2007 (approved) and in 2010 (approved and implemented). It was acquired by property investors WIPI in 2013, with Rockwell appointed as development managers.
The loan was originated and underwritten by LendInvest (it’s one of the firm’s biggest ever loans), but is an equal partnership with Merseyside Pension Fund (advised by CBRE Capital Advisors) – which has “identified property debt as providing strong relative returns and has completed a number of direct property loans over the last 18 months”.
The loan was made to an established property development company to finance the purchase of a development site in London’s Docklands. The borrower is seeking planning consent to build a 320 bedroom budget hotel and 199 residential units; a decision from Tower Hamlets is expected sometime this year.
Rod Lockhart, Managing Director of LendInvest Capital: “We are delighted to be working with major public sector institutions like MPF which is something that we have built LendInvest to do successfully. Returns from short-term property debt are increasingly attractive to investors in this low interest rate environment. We look forward to making co-investments with MPF and other UK pension funds as a regular component of our funding mix.”
Chris Shorrock of CBRE Capital Advisors, the Strategic Advisor to MPF: “At the current time we believe that investing into the property debt space provides attractive relative returns compared to direct equity property investments. Having an allocation for debt funding in the property portfolio should assist us in outperforming the Fund’s IPD Benchmark. We are pleased to have undertaken our first debt syndication with LendInvest and it demonstrates that alternative lenders and institutional investors can team up to achieve attractive returns for their investors.”