OakNorth Bank completes £33m loan to Mabec Property to develop 742 new student bedrooms in Nottingham and Sheffield

  • Mabec will use the finance from OakNorth to develop two major student accommodation sites – one in Nottingham and one in Sheffield;
  • The site in Sheffield will be developed at the former Sheffield Star Building which was home of the iconic local newspaper for several decades. The building will have 259 student bedrooms;
  • In Nottingham, the former site of RadfordMills is being transformed into a 483-bedroom student residential village;
  • OakNorth has completed several transactions this year in the student accommodation sector – most recently, a £12.7m transaction with Kexgill for a development in Hull, and a £17.5m transaction with Ankor for student blocks in Ealing and Greenwich.


OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs – has completed a £33m deal with Mabec Property, the developer backed by Toscafund and Penta Capital.


Founded in 2009, Mabec’s focus is on residential development and investment in the Midlands, including the student letting market as well as mixed use projects. Mabec’s directors, Mark Cavell and Mark Elliott, have over 60 years of property experience and have successfully completed almost 35 projects together in the past. The finance will be used to convert the former Sheffield Star Newspaper Building on York Street into a 259-bedroom student accommodation block with 211 en-suites and 48 studios. The site is located within walking distance of both the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, close to the Sheffield Cathedral. The finance will also be used to convert the former site of Radford Mills on Ilkeston Road into 483 bed spaces for student and young professional housing units. Built at the turn of last century, Radford Mills has remained substantially unoccupied for many years.


With Mabec’s help, the aim is to retain the mill as a centre piece to a residential “village” on this 1.5-acre site. The scheme would comprise of 106 cluster beds, 233 studios, 25 one-bedroom flats and 57 two-bedroom flats together with housing units. The site is located within walking distance of the Jubilee Campus of University of Nottingham and the City Campus of Nottingham Trent University.


Mabec’s Directors, Mark Cavell and Mark Elliott, commented: “With over 50,000 full-time students each, both cities are in desperate need of more purpose-based student housing developments. In Nottingham, the situation is particularly dire where this year’s demand from first year student has resulted in people being put into hotels. That’s why we’re delighted to be bringing some much-needed new student accommodation to these cities in two iconic locations. A key reason for us choosing OakNorth was because we needed the transaction to be completed quickly and the team have an excellent understanding of the market and both regions and were prepared to work just as hard as us to get the deal done.”


Commenting on the transaction, Surinder Sidhu, Debt Finance Director at OakNorth said: “We’re delighted to have supported Mabec on this transaction – the team led by Mark Cavell and Mark Elliott have successfully completed dozens of projects in a relatively short time-frame and continue to expand their portfolio across the UK. Their innate drive and ambition has helped them secure backing from some of the UK’s most notable private equity and investment management firms – both of whom will continue to play significant roles in the company’s future success.”

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