Shackleton Developments, Auckland

When Geoff Cawson returned to New Zealand in 2016 after working abroad for 14-years, it was to pursue his ambition of building and establishing his own property development company. Cawson was already extensively involved in property development having owned and operated a construction business in the UK. He is also a qualified boat builder and boasts a Master of Science – (Real Estate Development) from the University of Westminster.

Upon returning to NZ, Cawson established Shackleton Developments, a privately owned Auckland-based company whose focus is residential property development – with a goal of producing high quality residential homes that present value for money.

ASAP Finance was introduced to Cawson in 2020, when he required funding for an eight terrace-townhouse project in Te Atatu project that started in 2019. Cawson notes that the market in 2018 was fairly flat, but as it picked up the development sold out quite quickly.

“For a good time we had been going through the high street banks,” says Cawson. “But dealing with banks can be quite fraught and bureaucratic. We struggled to meet the conditions that the Bank had set to drawn down any funding. After knocking our head against the wall for a few months until we were eventually put in touch with ASAP who were quick to understand our needs.”

When ASAP Finance was engaged, Cawson had already begun construction. Earthworks had commenced, drainage was underway, and slabs were being poured. To avoid works from slowing down or being delayed an immediate funding solution was required.

ASAP Finance was able to quickly assess the transaction, providing a funding solution that would take the project to completion. The loan facility included a refinancing of the existing bank debt and 100 percent of the cost to complete the project. Having reviewed all relevant consents and construction contracts, funding was approved within one week of receiving the application.

Cawson had made it clear early in discussions with ASAP a high loan-to-cost ratio was the preferred solution. With many other projects on the go, he had a higher and better use for his capital. To accommodate this, an “equity release” provision was built into ASAP’s loan facility to be funded from the project contingency on completion of the civil works and drainage.

“ASAP know what they’re doing, and with that comes a fairly relaxed attitude,” says Cawson.

“Once they see you know what you’re doing, they’re not standing over us. I had a really good experience with them and would be very happy to work with them again.”