Strawberry Star raises £26m for Wandsworth project

OakNorth has lent £21m to Santhosh Gowda's firm to fund the acquisition and development of a 77-unit site in Wandsworth

Santhosh Gowda’s ten-year-old property firm, Strawberry Star, has borrowed nearly £26m to fund the acquisition and development of a site in Wandsworth, including £21m in debt finance from entrepreneurial bank OakNorth.

Another £4.9m has come in from RM Secured Direct Lending, with JLL Residential Capital Markets advising Strawberry Star throughout.

The finance will be used to develop 77 residential units (c.56,000 square feet) at Buckhold Road, near St George’s Park (just down the road from Wandsworth’s game-changing Ram Brewery by Greenland Group), along with 24,000 square feet of work space, and 2,000 square foot café / restaurant. The scheme, called “Bronze”, has been designed by architects Rolfe Judd, and forms the second phase of “Wandsworth Business Village”.

The site, formerly occupied by the Army Cadet Force, already has full planning permission (achieved by The Workspace Group with Rolfe Judd back in 2014); construction is due to begin this month (September), with completion slated for Q3 2019. Sales will be jointly managed by Strawberry Star and JLL.

Strawberry Star is celebrating a decade in business this year; the firm has overseen investment in over 700 luxury apartments across London since 2007; projects include the 360-apartment Hoola, Royal Docks in East London, and the 36-storey Sky Gardens tower in Nine Elms.

Santhosh Gowda, Founder & Chairman of Strawberry Star:“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, and look forward to development getting underway.”

Ben Barbanel, Head of Debt Finance, and Damien Hughes, Property Finance Director at OakNorth: “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: “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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