Hammerson confirms sale talks for key Leeds malls
UK property giant Hammerson bowed Monday to press speculation that it was indeed in discussions to sell its Victoria Gate and Victoria Quarter shopping centres in Leeds.
It confirmed negotiations are currently taking place with Swiss investment company Redical Holdings for a sale of the properties for around £120 million. However, Hammerson stressed in a release to the London Stock Exchange that “there can be no certainty that a transaction will take place”.
Victoria Gate, which Hammerson opened in October 2016, forms part of the Victoria Leeds shopping destination. The £165 million centre, which has been praised for transforming the retail scene in Leeds, is anchored by John Lewis and includes fashion brands Ted Baker, Paul Smith, Kurt Geiger and beauty brands Space NK, Kiehl’s, L’Occitane and Jo Malone.
This latest move reinforces the property group’s decision to shift its focus to prime urban estates through disposals of non-core assets. The group, whose portfolio includes the Bullring and Grand Central shopping centres in Birmingham and the Bicester Village Designer Outlet in Oxfordshire, needs to strengthen the balance sheet after a punishing pandemic and subsequent lockdowns that hit the commercial property sector hard.
The latest move reinforces the announced sale (under the heading ‘disposal of non-core assets’) of its share in Silverburn, the 100,000 sq m shopping centre near Glasgow. The firm’s 50/50 joint venture was sold for £140 million in cash to Henderson Park and Eurofund.
At the time it said the sale was in line with its strategy of “reducing debt, simplifying the portfolio and generating capital for redeployment”. Five other non-retail assets were also sold for a combined £22 million.
Meanwhile, Hammerson also said Monday it will provide a further announcement on the Victoria Gate and Victoria Quarter shopping centres negotiations “if appropriate”.
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