OakNorth completes its first deal in Scotland

Specialist bank OakNorth has completed a £3m property investment loan for a major mixed-use project in Edinburgh - its first transaction in Scotland.

The loan was to residential and commercial developer AMA Homes, which has previously completed numerous developments in Scotland, ranging from houses to aparthotels and student residences.

The funding will provide AMA with an extended period to redevelop both Belford House and Douglas House in Edinburgh into a residential site comprising 50 apartments and 2,000 sq ft of commercial space.

Belford House is a seven-storey, 23,000 sq ft office building currently owned by AMA, while Douglas House stretches over five floors with a total area of around 14,768 sq ft, with AMA owning the ground and first floor.

The two properties are adjacent to one another and are interconnected via the first floor.

Mike and Ali Afshar, joint managing directors of AMA Homes, said: “Last year saw a 17% increase in new prospective buyers registering in the second quarter and a 3% increase in viewings year-on-year.

“However, this rising demand has not been matched by an uptake in supply, which has resulted in heightened competition for best-in-class properties and some selling for above their home report valuations.

“The team at OakNorth worked tirelessly to get the deal completed in the timeframe we required and we appreciated the speed at which they responded to our queries.”

In a joint statement, Ben Barbanel, head of debt finance, and Damien Hughes, property finance director, both of OakNorth, added: “This is a very exciting transaction for us – it is our first to a Scottish business and we’re delighted to be working with such a well-established and experienced management team.

“AMA Homes have an incredibly strong property portfolio and are behind several of the country’s award-winning developments, including Evolution West Port and Springside in Fountainbridge.

“We look forward to working with them in the future and have no doubt that the redevelopment will be a huge success.” 

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