Westbrook teams up with Irish-owned group for £50m JV

New York-based Westbrook Partners is providing finance for a London student housing project to Victoria Hall, a subsidiary of O’Flynn Group, one of Ireland’s developers whose loans are reportedly being transferred to Irish ‘bad bank’, The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA)

New York-based Westbrook Partners has forged an agreement with Victoria Hall, part of Irish construction firm and developer O’Flynn Group, to develop a student housing premises in Wembley, London.

Westbrook is funding the £50 million (€57 million; $77 million) joint venture via Clovis Student Housing, a Jersey-based affiliate, while Royal Bank of Scotland is the senior development finance lender.

The pair will develop a 435 bed scheme at the Wembley site, with completion expected in August 2011.

Victoria Hall is part of the O’Flynn Group founded by Cork’s Michael O’Flynn.

A report in the Irish Times newspaper on March 31 said O’Flynn was one of 10 top developers whose property loans provided by Irish banks and building societies were going into Ireland’s newly established bad bank, the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

The Irish Times report also said O’Flynn had been one of the few developers to speak openly about NAMA. He said in an interview with RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme: “If NAMA comes in in such a fashion that it does not work for people in our industry, if that motivation for borrowers is taken away, you’re not going to have a functioning property market. If you’re not going to have a functioning property market, you’re not going to have a successful NAMA.”

According to private equity firms that PERE has spoken with, firms have been holding talks with a number of Irish borrowers to find a way of bringing their loans out of NAMA.