Specialist lender Cohort Capital has financed the purchase of the Corn Exchange in Manchester, which was recently acquired for an undisclosed amount by a private investor advised by Westfort Advisors.

The £45m bridge facility was secured against the 141,000 sq ft, grade II listed building as well as a portfolio of other mixed-use UK assets. The market-clearing, short-term facility allowed the buyer to leverage their investment at very short notice, affording them the flexibility to procure senior, term-loan financing later this year.

Built between 1896-1903 and most recently redeveloped in 2017, The Corn Exchange is an iconic former market hall in the heart of Manchester’s city centre, comprising a restaurant and leisure venue on the ground, lower ground and first floors, and an aparthotel on the upper floors.

The property has 18 leases with an average lease term of 17 years and, whilst largely stabilised, still offers some scope for improving occupancy and tenant mix to further enhance value.

Richard Herring, co-founder at Westfort Advisors said:

“This is a fantastic outcome for the investor but also for Cohort, both of whom managed to weather some severe headwinds – not least September’s mini-budget – while managing to remain pragmatic and flexible throughout the process. Key to the deal’s success was the diversity of the collateral package, the quality of the Corn Exchange, and the calibre of the sponsor. Special thanks should be paid to our legal advisors at Farrer & Co and to Matt Thame at Cohort, who were instrumental in getting the deal across the line.”

Matt Thame, Founder of Cohort Capital said:

“It’s been an eventful year for the private debt markets. But we have definitely seen an increase in situations where lenders have not performed on their initial debt terms. With this deal, we were able to deliver with certainty and speed – which in the current market goes a long way, especially with acquisition opportunities which have real deadlines attached. Having a reputable introducer and advisor like Westfort assisting with the closing process made the underwrite much more straightforward. Now the ‘Goldilocks’ period of low inflation, rates and growing assets prices has come to an end, having an experienced debt advisor who introduces quality business but also exits existing loans to term debt couldn’t be more important – for lenders and borrowers alike.”

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.