OakNorth partners with Cogress on £22m deal to finance the restoration of Otto Schiff House


Ben Barbanel

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has lent £22m to Netherhall Gardens Ltd – a joint venture between Cogress and the Godfrey London group.

The new development, 14 Netherhall Gardens in Hampstead, has five two-bedroom, six three-bedroom, two four-bedroom and one five-bedroom apartment (14 in total), and comprises almost 30,000 sq.ft. The apartments are divided across two distinctive buildings; Otto Schiff House, a grand Victorian mansion designed by Richard Norman Shaw and Otto Schiff Mansions, a new pavilion building conceived by award-winning architects Squire and Partners. The new development has been finished to a very high standard, with all units benefitting from underground car parking, lift access, and gardens and courtyards based on a concept designed by Kate Gould, a Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist. Sophisticated interiors include kitchens by Boffi with integrated Gaggenau appliances. It is located just a stone’s throw from Regents Park and less than 1km from Hampstead, Finchley Road and Belsize Park underground stations.

The property has a fascinating history – in the 1920’s, the house was acquired by British banker and philanthropist, Otto Schiff. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Schiff worked to establish the Jewish Refugees Committee (JRC), organising the rescue and sheltering of 12,000 German and Austrian Jews. When Schiff died in 1952, he left a bequest establishing the building as a trust and care home for victims of Nazi persecution. The building was operated independently until 2010 before being incorporated into Jewish Care and relocated to a facility in Golders Green. Godfrey London has spent the last two years restoring the historic building to its residential state.

Paul Godfrey, Founder and Director of Godfrey London, commented:

“Otto Schiff House is a historically significant building and it has been a privilege for us to restore and return the property to its residential origins. Yet again, OakNorth went above and beyond the call of duty, taking the time to develop a flexible and innovative funding structure.”

Ben Barbanel, pictured, Head of Debt Finance, and Damien Hughes, Property Finance Director at OakNorth, continued:

“It’s great to once again be working with both Godfrey London and Cogress – especially on a building with such historic significance. Both businesses and their management teams are extremely entrepreneurial and ambitious, making them a perfect fit for OakNorth.”

Tal Orly, CEO and founder of Cogress, concluded:

“Despite being a large deal in terms of ticket size, most traditional banks would have been reluctant to support this project due to the complexity of the funding structure, or would have taken far too long to get the funding off the ground. OakNorth is willing to be flexible and work with us to get the deal done. This is essential in enabling us to offer robust and intelligent investment opportunities to our network of qualified investors, and financial speed and flexibility to our developer partners.”