Hilary Homfray joins Anthony Collins Solicitors after working for Birmingham City Council for 14 years. With more than 60,000 properties, she was kept busy!
Four ACS project teams worked on the following five national, high-profile projects to complete for the 31 March, public sector year end:
- A multi-million pound regeneration project for Leicester City Council to develop 900,000 square foot of city centre office space into flats, shops, public space and create new transport links.
- A ground-breaking, residential property-leaseback arrangement for Derwent Living, with CBRE, unlocking, for the first time ever, legacy value in shared-ownership housing so that Derwent can undertake more affordable housing development in the future.
- £75m regeneration in Salford through the housing stock transfer of 8,500 homes from Salford City Council to Salix Homes. The transaction value was £210m with the project requiring government write off of existing debt of £50m.
- £20m investment in 4,800 homes in Gloucester through the transfer of homes from Gloucester City Council to Gloucester City Homes. The transaction value was £292m underpinning a 30 year investment and regeneration strategy with funding provided by RBS.
- Major new lease-back funding arrangement for Pennaf Housing Group with Aviva Investors to fund the development of more affordable housing in Wales.
The Derwent Living transaction is the first lease-back, funding transaction of its kind, never seen before in the UK. This particular model will allow housing associations to unlock additional funding capacity; it is likely it will be used for future funding deals in the development of more affordable housing, to help meet the national housing shortage.
The Gloucester and Salford projects, where ACS acted for the local authority on each transaction, were significant value transactions each at over £200m, and will deliver additional investment and regeneration programmes over the next five years.
The projects were not without their difficulties. Throughout the Leicester City Council project, particularly post-demolition of the office blocks, ACS advised the Council through challenging commercial negotiations to enable the project to be kept on track.
Peter Hubbard, Senior Partner at ACS, said: “The four teams working on these projects have delivered on impressive transactions to tight timescales. Having multiple transactions of national importance completing at the same time reflects our nationally-leading position on major public-sector regeneration, along with the strength in depth of our property regeneration and public sector teams.”
The completions follow on from ACS’s previous success in the financial year, which includes:
- The effective launch of its capital markets team with the completion of a publicly-listed bond deal worth £250 million on behalf of Walsall Housing Group to develop an extra 2,000 affordable new homes over five years
- Completion of two further private placements totalling £60m on behalf of Wulvern Housing and Shropshire Housing Group
- A 7% increase in turnover from £13.5m in 2012/13 to £14.5m in 2013/14 and an impressive 43% increase in profits.
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