Dec 23, 2021
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Property firm New River sells more retail parks

Dec 23, 2021

NewRiver has been busy selling off some of its shopping centre interests. The London-based real estate investment trust has offloaded Poole Retail Park in Dorset for £58 million and Templars Square Shopping Centre in Cowley, Oxfordshire, for £38.8 million. It also recently sold its interest in Blenheim Shopping Centre in Penge, south London.

Sports Direct signed a 10-year lease at Poole Retail Park earlier this year - Sports Direct

The Poole sale price represents a net initial yield of 6.6%, a 7.4% premium to the latest valuation and is 30% higher than when NewRiver and its partner Bravo bought the site.

That’s a good result in the current property environment. Only this week, for instance, it emerged that Landsec has bought an extra 25% stake in the prestigious Bluewater mall for hundreds of millions of pounds less than the stake’s previous owner had paid for it.

Back with NewRiver, in the two years since the Poole Retail Park acquisition, it has agreed new leases with existing occupiers Boots and Next and replaced a former Laura Ashley unit with Bensons for Beds. In February it also completed a new 10-year lease for a 30,400 sq ft unit to Sports Direct, replacing a former DW Sports unit.

CEO Allan Loockhart said the disposal “demonstrates the strong returns that can be generated from our experienced asset management platform through capital partnerships”.

Meanwhile, the Templars Square sale comes after nearly a decade of ownership of the site. NewRiver acquired it for £24.6 million in December 2012 but it has struggled in recent years. It’s now set to be redeveloped, enabling 236,000 sq ft of mixed-use regeneration, including 226 new homes “and major improvements to the public realm”.

Earlier in the summer, the local council proposed the redevelopment of Templars Square after the shopping centre was described as a “broken model” with 10 empty retail units and “more on the way in the future”.

Despite its problems, the sale price reflects a 4.9% premium to the asset's latest valuation, noted NewRiver.

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