Listed Factory in Northampton to be converted in to Luxury Apartments
Octopus Real Estate has completed a £9m loan for the redevelopment of the former G. T. Hawkins Factory
The 24-month facility will fund the conversion of the former G.T Hawkins factory into 17 studios, 60 one-bedroom flats, and 12 two-bedroom apartments, all of which will be designed in a New York loft-style. The development will be undertaken by a local joint venture between OEH Group and Acca Group, with the show flats expected to be ready in August this year.
The former G.T. Hawkins factory, built in the late 1800s, was one of the UK’s major suppliers of climbing and military boots, and supported British war efforts during first and second World Wars. But while its rivals like Tricker’s and Crockett & Jones have continued manufacturing in the town, the factory in the Mounts shut down in 2000.
There are plenty of forgotten buildings in Northampton’s town centre, each with their own historical significance. But perhaps one of the most influential is the abandoned factory on the corner of Overstone Road and Dunster Street. A flagship shoe and boot factory, the Waulkerz Boot factory owned by G.T Hawkins produced plenty of footwear, including building British army tank boots during the First World War. These boots saved many lives because they had rope soles which prevented sparks in a confined space.
Local historian and author, Mike Ingram, who has just written a book about the history of Northampton, is trying re-ignite interest in local buildings like this.
The factory closed in 1995 after 120 years of trading.
Andy Scott, head of residential development at Octopus Real Estate, said: “This deal is well aligned with Octopus’s vision of bringing high quality accommodation to the UK, while retrofitting existing buildings, which is an environmentally friendly way to bring new properties to the market.
“We’re delighted to be supporting a local developer whose vision is to regenerate this iconic factory into 89 new homes and allow the Hawkins factory to remain an important part of the Northamptonshire area.
“We were able to build a strong partnership with the borrower, by delivering exceptionally fast service and going out of our way to structure the development finance around their needs and timelines.
“It’s a great example of our commitment to delivering personalised development finance solutions to our clients.”
Matthew Dailly, managing director of Tiger Financial, who handled the deal, added: “With a tight timescale to complete the loan, and with a large redbrick conversion of an industrial building being outside the appetite of many lenders, we carefully selected Octopus as our lender of choice.
“We were impressed that Octopus immediately saw the developer’s vision and what it was trying to achieve, and how it acted as a sympathetic and flexible partner as the deal progressed.
“With its empowered underwriters, efficient decision-making process and skilled credit committee, we were able to complete in time, thereby providing the developer the financial means to deliver the conversion of this iconic building.”
Ermir Sefolli, director at OEH Group, commented: “We are extremely proud of the history of the factory and will endeavour to sympathetically restore the building and retain and refurbish as many historical elements as possible.
“I’m thrilled that Octopus has funding that enables us to finance developments like these.
“Our city has a rich history, and it is a great privilege to be able to restore this local landmark, while bringing much-needed new homes to the area.”