"I didn’t know Clearwell Capital before I took a mezzanine loan with the company and I actually looked at several mezzanine lenders before approaching them. Clearwell Capital was the only organisation that offered the flexibility to meet my requirements, the risk-appetite to manage a deal halfway through construction, and the ambition to liaise with stakeholders in a complex negotiation.
I required a £300,000 mezzanine loan in 2019 to complete a high-end, residential development in Bristol with a GDV of £2.5m. I had a primary lender, who had a £1.25m loan facility but time and cost overruns meant that halfway through, I needed another £300,000 to complete. The additional complexity was the negotiation with the landowner. When I purchased the site with the primary lender, we deferred £195,000, so the landowner made a second charge. The third charge was also with the landowner.
I needed a mezzanine lender that would not only lend halfway through the project but negotiate between the primary lender and the landowner. Many lenders are not happy with the role of having to navigate between parties. Clearwell wasn’t the cheapest but their ability to do the due diligence and find a flexible solution is why I chose them to take on the project. Their professionalism of looking at every deal uniquely and individually was key to the whole process, as was their ability to negotiate well.
In my experience, many lenders want standard projects in standard boxes and will provide a list of items they will and will not be involved in. Not everything is that straightforward in the world of real estate. Clearwell Capital understands this and their approach is to remain flexible and look at each project on its individual risk basis.
I felt more than comfortable talking to them about time and cost overruns and the challenges facing the project as they were clearly keen to work through a solution. Many lenders are ‘financially focussed’ and don’t truly understand the sector they profess to specialise in. Clearwell Capital has a real understanding of property development and approach challenges from a real estate rather than a finance perspective. We are real estate people, so to talk that language is far more helpful. I have since approached Ed and the team on several other deals, their professionalism and flexibility make them stand out from the other mezzanine lenders."
Walton Gateway Ltd.