Modern building interior

Real Estate Finance –

Supporting property firms with unique redevelopments

Property and development firm McLaren Group had a unique, but unorthodox proposition: to redevelop a part-listed former cinema into stunning student accommodation in Bristol.


4th November 2021


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The iconic building on Baldwin Street had previously been a music hall, a cinema, and a nightclub. After McLaren acquired the building in 2017, they obtained planning permission to provide 92 state-of-the-art student units.

It was, however, a unique project due to the front façade of the building being of local interest. As a result, it needed to be retained and subsequently regenerated as part of the development.

The redevelopment was also a challenge from an engineering point of view, but the Arbuthnot Latham team took time to understand the project and worked closely with the McLaren team to find a flexible solution that suited their needs when structuring the lending facilities. Ultimately, the bank provided both development and investment loan facilities.

Modern bedroom interior

Now the project is complete, Arbuthnot Latham’s project monitors (Paragon Building Consultancy) praised the management, engineering skill, and workmanship of the project. The accommodation is fully let for the 2021/2022 academic year and has a waiting list of approximately 70 students. The commercial banking team at Arbuthnot Latham is delighted with the success of this project and looks forward to working with McLaren on many more projects in the future.

Mark Cotter, Director, Arbuthnot Latham Commercial, commented “McLaren has been a client of the bank for a number of years, and we are always delighted by the high level of professionalism, skill, and quality of their developments. The group continues to grow in all aspects of their many divisions and we will continue to support them where we can.”

McLaren Group was established in 2001 and operates in construction, property, and development in the UK and the UAE. They are passionate about creating spaces that inspire and serve customers in the private and public sectors.

John Gatley from McLaren said: “With unique and challenging projects like this it is important to have a lender who is relationship-led and takes time to understand what you are trying to achieve.

Arbuthnot Latham looks at more than just the black and white, and we were delighted that they have supported us on this project.”


Further reading

Expert view: Financing your growing property portfolio

Arbuthnot Latham banker, Gary Moore and advisor, Stuart Bradney have worked together for many years. Their relationship-led approach helps them treat each client individually, creating a solution that works for all parties.


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