ASK lends £22.5m to HIG Realty Partners

Real estate funding specialist, ASK Partners (ASK), has provided a £22.5m senior loan facility to H.I.G. Realty Partners for the expansion of H.I.G’s Life Sciences portfolio.

The loan purpose is to fund the acquisition of a 0.5-acre site in Whitechapel. H.I.G. Realty Partners’ & Lateral’s longer-term plan is to develop the site into a high-quality, lab-enabled life sciences building.

The site is at the centre of the Whitechapel Life Science Masterplan, a partnership led by Queen Mary University, Royal London Hospital and Barts Life Science targeting to deliver one million sqft of lab-enabled space by 2030.

Whitechapel is currently undergoing a £500m, 15-year regeneration effort, aimed at both residential and commercial provision, as well as material improvements to local amenity and community infrastructure.

The area has exceptional transport links, being adjacent to the soon-to-be operational Elizabeth Line and less than five miles from City Airport.

Jérôme Fouillé, managing director at H.I.G. Realty Partners, said: “H.I.G. are delighted to expand New Life Realty, our life sciences platform which benefits from strong fundamentals given the lack of modern space and exceptional tenant demand.

“We plan to further grow in the U.K. as well as across Europe, where key clusters and ecosystems are experiencing material shortfalls in purpose-built laboratory space. With this acquisition, we now have a strong presence in several key life sciences clusters within London.

“With an established platform in place, we will continue to add strategically located sites, in order to deliver superior and ESG-secure products for the expanding life sciences sector by applying our value-add, hands-on approach”

Rob Beacroft, director and head of development at Lateral and H.I.G’s development manager for the asset at Lateral, said: “Our ambition is to deliver an exemplary cutting edge dedicate life science facility to act as catalyst to accelerate the evolution of Whitechapel’s emerging life science ecosystem.”

Joshua Weinstein, head of institutional markets at ASK, added: “We were delighted to provide financing to H.I.G. Realty Partners & Lateral London for the acquisition of this site. It is an excellent investment opportunity with the loan strongly underpinned by the site’s existing use as office space.

“However, as H.I.G. Realty Partners & Lateral London have recognised, its location has huge potential for lab-enabled space. Given the pace of expansion in life sciences in the UK as a result of the pandemic, and the consequent rising demand for lab-enabled space, we are very supportive of their plans and wish them every success.”

BBS Capital acted as debt adviser to H.I.G. Realty Partners and Managing Director Adam Buchler concluded: “It was a pleasure to work with both parties on this transaction and to expand our credentials in this important growth sector. The site presents a strong investment opportunity, and we look forward to seeing H.I.G. Realty Partners’ plans coming to fruition.”

ASK was advised by Shepherd and Wedderburn and H.I.G. Realty Partners were advised by Baker McKenzie.