hlw Keeble Hawson acts in milestone regeneration of disused former police building

22nd November 2017

hlw Keeble Hawson has represented growing property investment company, Empire Property Concepts, in a development to breathe new life into a disused former police building.

Specialist lender Together provided £806,000 to enable Empire Property Concepts to further expand its buy-to-let portfolio by purchasing and part developing the 1960s-built Fell House in Wakefield which was previously used as offices for West Yorkshire Police. 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 Doncaster-based 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, Together's regional development director for Yorkshire, 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 and are pleased to be associated with such a successful property investment company. At a time when there is a severe shortage of housing across the UK, this redevelopment is one project which will provide more than 30 affordable rental units. It would be great to see others investing in similar projects. The development of the disused building, which is located in the city centre, will also involve improvements to the outside of the building such as rendering and fitting new window panels. Mr Rothwell, Empire's founder and managing director, said: -It is a building which has been stood 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. Said hlw Keeble Hawson partner, Paul Goel: -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. The Together group, which is based in Manchester, has been providing finance for 43 years and recently announced record lending for the 12 months to 30 June 2017, with a current loan book of more than £2.24 billion.

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