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06 Aug 2020 Industry News

Boodle Hatfield advises on one of the first loans from Government’s Coronavirus Future Fund

Boodle Hatfield, the leading private wealth law firm, has advised on one of the first successful applications for finance from the Government’s coronavirus Future Fund for Cromwell Place, a first of its kind flexible art hub in South Kensington.

The £500m Future Fund was opened by the British Business Bank in May to provide finance for innovative growth businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Loans written by the fund are worth between £125,000 and £5m.

Boodle Hatfield’s client Cromwell Place has 14 gallery spaces and 25 offices for use by galleries, collectors, dealers and advisors with specialities ranging from Antiquities and Old Masters through to 19th Century, Modern and Contemporary art. Cromwell Place is based in a converted row of Grade II-listed townhouses in the heart of South Kensington, yards from the Natural History Museum.

Commercial art galleries have increasingly been priced out of their traditional home of Mayfair, creating a need for lower-cost, more flexible exhibition options for artists elsewhere in central London, particularly during the peak art fair seasons.

Cromwell Place had been scheduled to open in May 2020, but was forced to postpone due to the Covid-19 lockdown. This created a need for working capital to ensure the business was able to deliver its planned opening events later in the year, with the launch now scheduled for October.

Boodle Hatfield says that Cromwell Place was able to prepare its application for a Future Fund loan in the three weeks following the announcement of the scheme, with the approval of all current investors. Its proposal was filed with the British Business Bank on the first morning the scheme opened, resulting in a loan being available to be drawn within 6 weeks.

Fred Clark, Associate at Boodle Hatfield, says: “We’re delighted to have been able to help a truly innovative business get the funding it needed to prevent the pandemic affecting its launch programme.”

“It’s been excellent to see how smoothly the Future Fund process has worked for Cromwell Place. It’s common for a brand new finance scheme like this to have teething issues, but the British Business Bank and its partners have genuinely delivered on the promises made when it was announced.

Preston Benson, Managing Director of Cromwell Place, comments: “From our first contact with the British Business Bank, they understood exactly how Cromwell Place matched the Future Fund’s stated aim: to support a fast growing innovative business through challenging times. Not all innovation comes from pure technology companies – our completely new model for the art world is just as ground-breaking.”

“The finance from the Future Fund means we are able to navigate an uncertain period with confidence. We are now primed to deliver a landmark opening programme during October.”

If you have any questions on this, please contact Fred Clark in our Corporate Team.