Avamore provides £750,000 facility for project without planning permission

Avamore Capital has completed a 12-month gross development finance facility of £750,000 secured against an office in Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire.

The property (pictured above) was previously a mock Tudor building – known as the Coach House – that had been the headquarters of the Institute of Professional Photography.

The borrower, GCP London, plans to convert the property into six two-bedroom flats with a combined gross development value of approximately £1.3m.

Ben Butkus, director at GCP London, engaged with Avamore’s principal Michael Dean through Instagram where they discussed a mutual interest in property development photos.

Ben shared a photo of the Coach House with Michael and they began discussing the option of financing the project.

At that time, there was another lender in pole position to provide finance for the development, but it was struggling to work around the lack of planning permission in place for the conversion of the property into residential prior to completion of the property purchase.

Michael suggested to Ben that Avamore could be more flexible with regards to planning, and this information helped GCP to decide on their lender.

During the conversation, Zuhair Mirza, co-founder and director at Avamore, was introduced to Raouf Belmouloud, Ben’s co-director, and after reviewing the information, Avamore agreed to provide a purchase and development facility for GCP’s purchase of the Coach House.

Avamore said it would be able to lend against the purchase price/value of the property (which assumed planning was in place for six residential units and was 50% higher than the existing use value) even if the planning/permitted development had not been granted.

Avamore was able to provide the facility due to its engagement of Mark Batchelor of planning consultants Peacock & Smith.

Mark assessed the probability of the plans being granted, and as the planning application was a permitted development application from offices to residential, the development may have seemed straightforward, but this was not entirely clear cut due to the age of the property and other factors.

However, the advice from Mark enabled Avamore to take a view and the facility was granted.

“This has been our first transaction with Avamore Capital, they have exceeded our expectations above and beyond,” said Ben, director of GCP London.

“We love the transparent approach and commercial views on solving challenges along the way.

“Based on the level of service and value they add to developers, I look forward to seeing their business go from strength to strength.

“We are very much excited to grow our relationship with the team and do business again in the future.”

Zuhair added: “GCP is an exciting up-and-coming developer, who are active across the South and East of England, areas where we like to lend to.

“There is a great synergy between them and us, with both companies being vibrant, diverse and hungry organisations keen to grow.

“I understood this project from the moment I visited the site, with no doubt in my mind that it was a cracking scheme and GCP’s investors should be very happy with the deal they are about to do.

“I have no doubt many more will be lining up to back them on their next deal.

“Avamore very much hopes to help GCP with their next project whenever and wherever that might be.”

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