Hammerson has confirmed that it has sold its 50 percent stake in Leicester’s Highcross Shopping Centre and created a new international joint venture.

The 236 million pound deal has created a new 472 million pound joint venture with an Asian investor introduced by M&G Real Estate, which will leave Hammerson managing the centre under the new joint venture.

The Highcross Shopping Centre in Leicester is a 1,184,030 square foot retail and leisure scheme anchored by John Lewis and Debenhams department stores and a Showcase Cinema de Lux and attracts 18 million visitors a year. In addition, as of June 30, Highcross’ occupancy was at 96.7 percent with an annual passing rent of 26.7 million pound.

The centre also continues to experience strong demand from retailers, with luxury perfume brand Jo Malone London recently opening its first boutique in the city, while Debenhams recently invested 5 million pounds in store improvements as well as introducing new brands to Leicester through concessions including Maisons du Monde, Murad and Kat Von D.

Hammerson has also made improvements to transformed the retail line-up as part of its strategy to reduce reliance on department stores and enhance the retail mix at the centre, and in 2016, the House of Fraser space was taken back to accommodate an upsized flagship Zara store, which has recently opened, alongside an upsized JD Sports and additional restaurant and leisure space.

The leisure offer has also been improved, with St Peter’s Square now a dedicated dining quarter with enhanced public space, and new indoor climbing operator Social Climbing has joined the centre and new concept Treetop Adventure Golf is also set to open early next year.

David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson, said in a press release: “This latest transaction is at a price that underpins the underlying strengths of our flagship destinations. It is clear there are institutional investors that continue to have the appetite to buy into top tier centres and see value in creating joint ventures with skilled operators.”

John Duxbury, head of retail and leisure, M&G Real Estate added: “This is a significant investment into a high quality, strategically located, well-let regional asset, which provides a great place for people to shop, dine out and be entertained.

“The retail sector has its challenges, but prime assets in the right locations will be resilient to the changing retail landscape and continue to deliver attractive risk adjusted returns for our investors. With a strong line up of retail and leisure brands, we are confident that Highcross has an exciting future.”


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