Alternative development property lender Castlehaven opens Cork office

Former Irish rugby ace John ‘Paco’ Fitzgerald will lead Castlehaven Finance’s southern operations. Picture: Denis Minihane

Alternative development property lender, Castlehaven Finance, has opened a new office to handle growing demand in the southern part of the country.

The Dublin-based lender says it is ‘solidifying its regional presence’, establishing its first permanent office outside of Dublin.

This first regional office is based in Cork’s Lapp’s Quay. It will see former Irish rugby international, John ‘Paco’ Fitzgerald, take control of Castlehaven’s southern operations. According to the lender this move will “cement its commitment to its expanding base in the Munster region.”

Marketing manager, Jaclyn Visbeen, says it “makes it possible for developers to continue the necessary work of providing housing for a country desperate for more liveable space.”

Castlehaven’s origin-story begins in London. Two Irish financiers, Clark McCann and Will Aylmer, worked in the London alternative finance space, commuting weekly from Dublin. All the while they were keeping an eye on the Irish market recover for an opportunity. They eventually took their work home, establishing the company in 2014 in Dundrum. It is backed by London-based private equity and currently employs 15 people.

Since inception it has provided 108 loans totalling €528m for Irish residential projects. These funds, according to Aylmer, are responsible for the construction of more than 3,000 private residential and 700 social housing units.

Fitzgerald has arrived at this point via stints in business development for Lombard and FEXCO and, most recently as a senior consultant for Forth Capital. Aylmer says Fitzgerald is “a natural-born leader, perfectly placed to head up our new Cork office.”

He is a former Munster and Ireland front-row rugby player, who plied his sporting trade in the 80s and 90s and went on to coach Young Munster for a period. Fitzgerald says he is excited to join what he terms “one of the fastest-growing alternative lenders in the Irish marketplace, working to provide much needed housing in my own backyard.”

Castlehaven’s expertise, says Fitzgerald, lies in ‘making quick, informed decisions, providing development and bridging loans between €1m and €25m on private and social projects.’ It covers up to 90% loan-to-cost for lending on residential and mixed-use developments. It also offers asset refinance and equity release for sites in ownership through loans secured by first legal charge on the subject property. Bridging finance is available for periods of up to 24 months up to a LTV of 80%.

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