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Herbert Smith has helped fund manager Resolution Property restart the development of a 220,000sq ft central London site after it acquired the loan secured against it at a knockdown price.
Resolution has purchased a e36.1m (£31.7m) debt facility secured against three buildings in the City for e6m.
The original loan was provided by Lehman Brothers as part of a e3bn collateralised debt obligation (CDO) called Excalibur, with Resolution advised by Herbert Smith partner Simon Price.
Resolution had planned to build a luxury hotel at the location, which is in the vicinity of St Paul’s Cathedral, and had obtained a development agreement from the Corporation of London.
However, the market slump meant plans for the hotel had to be shelved and once income fell on the office blocks on the site, special servicer Hatfield Phillips was appointed as loan servicer.
Resolution has since been in protracted negotiations to purchase the debt. The fund is a longstanding client of Price, who has also acted on acquisitions for the UK-based fund in Germany. He was assisted in the restructuring of the debt by finance partner Simon Chadney.
The fact that the development is now debt-free means that Resolution can progress with its plans.
It is likely that Resolution will focus on a mixed-use development including not just a hotel, but also residential and office property.
Hatfield Phillips was advised by BLP property finance partner Eleanor Hunwicks, assisted by Stefania Maulucci.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher partner Wayne McArdle advised Lehman.