Investment Completion: Portland 88

News: Investment News | 2 November 2018

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Opportunity to fund major central Belfast residential property development proves big hit with private investors

  • 88-unit scheme being “up-specced” as it enters final stages of construction

  • Chance to participate in £2.6m short-term secured debt facility sells out within 48 hours

The chance to fund a new high-spec residential property development in central Belfast has proved highly popular with private investor clients of Connection Capital, the specialist private client investment business, with the opportunity selling out within just 48 hours.

Connection Capital clients have provided £2.6m in new short-term secured debt facilities to Barnett Developments, the developer behind the scheme, known as “Portland 88”. This will enable Barnett to finish the units to a high specification and to release equity so that it can pursue additional developments in its pipeline.

Portland 88 comprises 88 new build residential units, including one, two and three bedroom flats and six townhouses plus a double-height entrance lobby with concierge. Started in 2017, the project is due to complete later this year, with a third of the units already pre-sold or reserved. It has an anticipated Gross Development Value of £19.2m *.

Construction is now in its final stages, with all 8 storeys (and under-croft parking) in place and fitting-out now in progress. The internal specification includes high quality integrated kitchen appliances and water filtration taps as well as sophisticated “whole-house” ventilation and air circulation features. “Smart home” features will be available as an optional extra, allowing occupants to control heating, lighting, entertainment and other functions remotely via their smartphone or tablet.

The development occupies a prime location less than half a mile from the city centre, with easy access to the Financial Quarter, Queen’s University and transport links. It is also adjacent to a major new commercial development, The Gasworks, which hosts a number of blue-chip multinational businesses including Allianz and Deloitte, as well as several government department offices.

Connection Capital says that the Northern Irish property market is buoyant, with strong growth seen over the last 12 months. In Belfast, an undersupply of new build city centre apartments coupled with a growing population of young professionals should help to sustain demand.

For Connection Capital clients, the deal is forecast to deliver 1.2x investment, net of fees, within 12-months of completion.

Stephen Catling, Head of Structured Debt at Connection Capital says,

"This investment opportunity was a huge hit with our private investor clients, enabling us to fulfil the entire allocation within just a matter of hours."

"We weren’t surprised by the high level of interest. Portland 88 represents an extremely attractive risk/reward profile. Since investors are participating at a relatively late stage in the construction process when completion is in sight and a good proportion of pre-sales have already been achieved, the deal has been significantly de-risked, with impressive returns expected within a very short timeframe of just a year."

"It’s also in a great location in the centre of a city buzzing with opportunity for young professionals, but where supply of new homes isn’t keeping up with demand."

"With its two universities, a growing blue-chip corporate presence, including Google’s and PwC’s innovation and digital solutions centres, and even HBO’s Game of Throne studios located there, Belfast is thriving, and we’re delighted to be able to offer our clients a slice of the action."