A property developer has taken crowd funding one step further by taking on the world’s biggest peer to peer loan of £4.15m to turn a Croydon office block into flats.
While bands use fans cash to produce albums and movie audiences pay to help directors produce film sequels, Inspired Asset Management (IAM) bypasses banks and instead uses a network of investors to get the cash needed to buy buildings.
Its latest loan, borrowed from 300 investors brought together by the LendInvest peer to peer lending platform, was used to fund the initial phase of the development of Green Dragon House.
The 55,000sq ft 60s office block in the high street will be converted into 111 flats, costing from £160,000 to £300,000.
IAM managing director Martin Skinner (pictured above) said: "We have to very quickly raise both the equity and the debt to acquire buildings.
"Traditional lending models can prove too slow to compete with the number of bidders who can exchange quickly with immediate cash.
"Peer to peer lending offers a flexible and swift solution.
"We have been meeting the new wave of funders, both investors and lenders, that have been coming into the market to make up for the reticence of the mainstream banks."
Building work is expected to start within six months and take around 12 months to complete.
Mr Skinner added: "At the end of the process we will have a building that we and Croydon can be proud of.
"I have been involved in residential developments in the Docklands and that area has changed to an astonishing degree, the same as the Olympics area.
"I think Croydon has the same opportunity here."
Demand from buyers has been exceptionally high with the first set of flats being sold off plan in just nine days.
This does not surprise Mr Skinner who said: "Croydon is going through a huge change with the joint Westfield and Hammerson shopping centre acting as the catalyst for a raft of regeneration programmes in the town."
"It is no surprise people are wanting to be a part of the new Croydon with flats going as soon as they come on the market."
High Street nightclub The Black Sheep Bar, situated underneath Green Dragon House, decided to close last November because of the proposed changes to the building.
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