Property group extends reach with funding

Leeds & London Land has secured a £1.33m loan from Santander Corporate Banking to fund the acquisition of three commercial freehold properties and a car park in Bradford city centre plus a fourth commercial property in Hull.

Leeds & London is a newly-formed Bradford-based property investment company, set up by director Zaheer Nazir, who has more than 20 years’ experience as a residential and commercial property investor.

The commercial properties in Bradford city centre include Fraternal House, which houses the West Yorkshire Probation Service; Elton Lodge, which houses Bradford Regional College and Stonegate House, which has various long-term tenants.

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The Broadgate House Car Park has 156 spaces and is also used by Stonegate House tenants.

The property in Hull is Haworth House, which is currently occupied by the RHSM School of Music, Media & Technology.

Mr Nazir said Bradford is an obvious choice for investment as the current price for property is very low.

“With the Westfield leisure and shopping complex development getting off, we’re hoping prices will increase,” he said.

“We’re looking at the long term and we’ve got some good tenants.”

Mr Nazir has invested in both commercial and residential property in the past.

“I was keen to extend my commercial property portfolio and this is a good opportunity.

“We’re negotiating with Santander to lend more money for two properties in Bradford in Little Germany. We’re at the solicitor’s stage.”

Little Germany is one of Bradford’s busiest commercial areas and dates back to the 19th century when Jewish merchants from Germany built imposing warehouses in the area.

Mr Nazir said he is considering moving his existing portfolio of 60 to 70 properties from HSBC to Santander as the latter has been much more forthcoming with its lending.

“Santander seem to be very pro-active at the moment. They seem to be the only ones that are interested in lending in the property area.”

Andrew Russell, relationship director for Santander Corporate, Commercial and Business Banking, said: “We are delighted to be able to help Zaheer expand his property portfolio. It is great to work with such a hardworking local businessman.

“This funding represents an excellent opportunity for Santander to build a relationship with an experienced property investor which will hopefully present further funding opportunities as he continues to expand his portfolio.”

He added that Santander Corporate Banking sees Yorkshire as a key area for investment and it has increased its presence in the region over the last year.

The expansion follows a strong year of growth in the region over the last year.

Santander Corporate Banking increased business lending in Yorkshire by 71 per cent in 2010, lending £353m to the region’s businesses.

It said it lent a higher amount in 2011, but declined to give the figure.

As a result of the increased investment, the bank’s regional director Neil Williams has recruited several new relationship directors and made the decision to expand into Bradford, York, Doncaster and Wakefield.

Santander Corporate Banking already has a presence in Leeds, Hull and Sheffield, in the form of its corporate business centres.

Santander Corporate, Commercial and Business Banking was established after the restructuring of Santander Business Banking and Santander Corporate Banking in March 2011, following the appointment of Steve Pateman to the executive board.

Santander Business Banking supports customers with a turnover of up to £250,000 through a team of local business managers, UK-based call centres and online banking.

Santander Corporate and Commercial Banking provides relationship banking support to businesses with a turnover of more than £250,000 through the bank’s 24 regional corporate banking centres located across the UK.

Santander UK said it is autonomous from its parent in terms of capital and liquidity, raising its own funds to run its busi- ness.

It added that sovereign exposures to Europe (excluding UK) as at September 2011 are less than one per cent of total assets.