London's OakNorth arranges loan for new central London luxury hotel

Southampton Row, Holborn, London

London-based bank OakNorth has arranged a £21-million loan for the development of a new hotel in London. When it opens early next year, L'Oscar will be a conversion from the Grade II-listed Baptist Church headquarters at 2-6 Southampton Row in Holborn. OakNorth reports that this deal is the largest it has completed since the bank's launch in September 2015. 

According to London Loves Business, the hotel will be managed by Michael Voigt, who was previously the GM of The Arch London. 

Jacques Garcia will design the 40-guestroom hotel along with its bar, restaurant, café and conference facilities. He also designed Paris' Hotel Costes, the Nomad Hotel in New York and the Vagabond Hotel in Singapore. 

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OakNorth has completed a number of hotel deals since its opening in September 2015. These include the development of a 200-room apartment/hotel in Liverpool, the acquisition of the Ramada Plaza Southport Hotel and the merger between Whittlebury Hall and Whittlebury Park. "But this is the first we've done in the hotel development space," Ben Barbanel, head of debt finance, and Deepesh Thakrar, debt finance director at OakNorth, said in a statement. 

In an interview with HOTEL MANAGEMENT last October, debt finance director Trevor Morris at OakNorth explained that despite the uncertainty of expansion plans in the UK hotel industry following the Brexit vote, lending remains strong. Morris stated, "Since June 24, we have doubled our loan book to over $257.2 million, and have completed a number of large deals with businesses in the hospitality sector including a $13.5-million loan package for SGS Hotels. We’ve actually seen it as a huge opportunity, as a number of larger lenders have been retrenching from the market as a result of the vote. In fact, we had two opportunities come in the day after the vote as a direct result of big banks pulling out of deals."