Done! Zetland House refinanced!

It has been a long and difficult journey, to say the least!  But yesterday afternoon we finally got the commercial refinance in place for the Huddersfield Zetland House project.

Green Zone – Kitchen 1

We now have a fantastic group of properties in a ‘cluster style’ student format providing 35 bedrooms, 8 kitchens and 14 bath/shower rooms.

We are immensely proud and feel we can allow ourselves at least a small celebration!

Of course, the work is never over – we need  to maintain our standards and improve working practices, becoming a more profitable long term investment.

Blue Zone B1 – single en-suite room

But finally, 22½ months after starting development work, 25 months after drawing up the initial evaluation documentation, we complete our ‘exit’.

I’m not kidding when I say this is a project I could write a small (no – maybe large) book about, involving;

  • before we even started, a problem with an area of ‘no-man’s land’ not on any title deed
  • subsequent declining of purchase finance and the deal apparently collapsing a number of times
  • eventually negotiating a vendor assisted purchase …
  • … utilising an exchange and delayed completion strategy
  • requiring an application to be made by the vendor for possessory title of the ‘no-man’s land’ with severe penalties for non-compliance
  • raising an initial £400k of development investment
  • completely stripping out, knocking about, reconstructing and refurbishing c.5000 sq ft of original hovel HMOs
  • in parts, finding the buildings in worse condition than anticipated (and we’d already thought it was really bad)
  • so bad in one part we had to remove the entire 40 sq m+ floor and start again
  • adding substantial dormers creating 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a kitchen in unexploited roof space
  • negotiating early end of lease to enable commercial conversion of a takeaway and a retail unit
  • digging down and excavating to create 5 new rooms, 2 bathrooms and a kitchen from the old beer cellars
  • Flood Risk Zone 3 complications
  • Planning problems and Planning Consultant issues
  • the collapse of the principle Project Director with a major heart rupture on site half way through development
  • navigation through the subsequent chaos
  • overshoot on delayed completion leading to …
  • … seeking emergency 12 month bridging, eventually from a private equity fund
  • further raising of finance to meet additional development and some overspend related to delays
  • (somehow) managing to hold to onto everything and meeting our target of 35 letting rooms for the student market
  • then there’s the whole refinancing process including dealing with low valuations and having to amend company structures to satisfy lenders
  • and (as they say) much, much more!
Rear Courtyard with Yorkshire stone table and seating

We have continually learned so much, about so many different aspects of property development, JV relationships and raising finance. It has indeed been a rollercoaster ride but the value to our collective education has been invaluable.

So, after jumping from the previous simple Buy-Refurb-Sell project to one involving all of the above on on our very next project – what next!?

One thought on “Done! Zetland House refinanced!

  • November 1, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Let’s do it again!


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