Specialist lender Together has provided a six-figure sum to breathe new life into a disused former police office block, as a development company expands its buy-to-let portfolio.
The finance company is providing a total of £806,000 to buy and part develop the 1960s-building. Property investors Paul Rothwell and Emma Thompson are set to embark on a major conversion project to turn the previously empty block into 32 self-contained one bedroom flats under permitted development rights - introduced to encourage the creation of housing from empty buildings.
Mr Rothwell has built up an impressive £33 million property portfolio in just 13 years, with his company Empire Property Concepts investing heavily in buying disused commercial buildings, renovating them, and letting the properties as rental homes.
For this latest venture, Together provided a £300,000 short-term loan for the purchase and another £506,000 towards the cost of developing the disused four-storey office block.
Barry Dillon, regional development director at Together, said: “This just shows how popular buy-to-let remains among forward-thinking property investors, despite changes to the sector.
“We were delighted to provide this loan for such a successful property investment company. At a time when there is a severe shortage of housing across the UK, this redevelopment will provide more than 30 affordable flats for rent would be great to see others investing in similar projects.”
The disused city centre building had previously been offices for the local police force before being purchased by Empire Property Concepts for redevelopment, which will also involve improvements to the outside of the building.
Mr Rothwell, Empire’s founder and managing director, said: “It’s a property which has been standing empty and we are looking to modernise it to transform it from quite an uninspiring building into a great place to live.
“We generally buy commercial buildings such as old offices and add value by refurbishing them and renting them out as self-contained flats, rather than converting existing residential properties. This latest project will go towards meeting the growing demand for housing and attract people into the city centre.”
Together works with a vast network of intermediaries, including brokers, accountants, solicitors, banks and financial advisers to deliver their clients the finance they need, and has provided funding for many major property developments across the country.
This latest deal was supported by law firm hlw Keeble Hawson. Partner, Paul Goel said: “Having represented Paul Rothwell since 2010 and witnessed the sustained growth and success of Empire Property Concepts, we were delighted to apply our expertise to enable the development company to further expand its buy-to-let portfolio. It’s also been great to collaborate with Together to bring the planned conversion to fruition.”
Together, which is based in south Manchester, has been providing finance for 43 years across all of mainland UK and this year announced record lending for the 12 months to 30 June 2017, with a current loan book of more than £2.37 billion.