The three Rs of Urban Regeneration

David Lewis sets out his thoughts and optimism on the future of town centres in an interview by GCW featured in their Spring newsletter.

Click the link below to read the full GCW article.

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RivingtonHark completes the purchase of The Liberty Centre, Romford

RivingtonHark are pleased to announce the completion of the purchase of 790,000 sq ft Liberty Centre in Romford on behalf of funds they strategically manage. The 13-acre freehold asset dominates the prime town centre and is close to the new Elizabeth Line Station.

Working with stakeholders, including the London Borough of Havering, there is significant potential to improve and rejuvenate the town centre, with the scheme attracting over 17 million people annually. This will involve better connectivity to the residential areas, improvement in public areas and opportunity for well-planned expansion of the existing town centre mixed-use offering.

The acquisition highlights RivingtonHark’s focus on urban assets where the underlying fundamentals are sound but where there is an opportunity to improve and enhance across a range of metrics. Critically allowing investors access to assets where environmental and social sustainability credentials can be constantly improved, and additional uses can be brought in that benefit the broader community.

RivingtonHark were supported by DLA, Time Retail Partners and Montagu Evans who will take on the property management. RivingtonHark have been appointed as asset manager. CBRE and Shoosmiths represented the vendors.


Escape Hunt plots new adventure at Norwich's Castle Quarter

Destination’s leisure offer further enhanced by arrival of escape room operator

Escape Hunt Norwich in Castle Quarter is the latest site for the global escape room operator as it brings even more adrenaline pumping, five-star rated escape rooms to East Anglia. Having opened its first Norwich venue in 2020, Escape Hunt has already secured its position as the number one activity on TripAdvisor. With brand new escape room adventures on the way, players are invited to step into new worlds packed with excitement. Whether it’s outdoor city-wide adventures, epic escape rooms or virtual reality games, players have to work together to find clues, solve puzzles and complete ground-breaking missions before time runs out.

Escape Hunt has taken units 6 & 7 Timberhill Terrace – totalling 4,930 sq ft – on a new ten-year lease.

The arrival of Escape Hunt further enhances the leisure offer at Castle Quarter, which has grown to become central Norwich’s leading lifestyle and social destination. It joins other occupiers such as Boom Battle Bar – part of the same company as Escape Hunt – Superbowl, Putt Putt Noodle, Spy Missions, Puregym and Vue. Imminent further openings include Hotpod Yoga and Castle Social, a new 20,000 sq ft ‘market hall’ style street food and entertainment concept occupying Castle Quarter’s entire top floor.

Mark Harvey, Executive Director and Head of Asset Management at RivingtonHark, said: “Escape Hunt is a fantastic addition to Castle Quarter, further enhancing the leisure offer with its hugely popular immersive experiences. With a first-rate selection of competitive socialising options and further openings on the horizon, such as the Castle Social market hall, Castle Quarter is Norwich’s leading social and lifestyle destination.”

Escape Hunt CEO Richard Harpham commented: “We’re thrilled to be opening a new venue with brand new adventures in Castle Quarter, in Norwich. The shopping centre is growing their incredible mix of leisure experiences, and with our sister brand BOOM BATTLE BAR as neighbours, Escape Hunt is in great company.”

RivingtonHark was advised by Jamieson Mills and Roche Chartered Surveyors, Escape Hunt Group was represented by Western Ridge.

Mark Williams receives Real Estate Visionary of the year award 2022 at the UKREiiF conference in Leeds

Mark Williams, Executive Director and co-founder of RivingtonHark has been awarded “Real Estate Visionary” of the year, at the inaugural UKREiiF conference in Leeds. The award recognizes Mark’s work as past Chair of the Government Retail Property Task Force, previous presidency of Revo and the successful joint leadership of RivingtonHark.

RivingtonHark is at the forefront of the regeneration and rejuvenation of Towns and Cities across the UK, making them better places for all people who use them.  Working on behalf of both the public and private sectors it is delivering the much-needed change resulting from the structural shift in retail and the post pandemic recovery; Including the recent completion of the groundbreaking Copr Bay in Swansea, Chester Northgate which is due to open later this year and commencing works on the transformation of Newcastle City Centre.

RivingtonHark is also the most active specialist investment and asset management platforms acquiring shopping centres in the UK.  Working with global funds the business is acquiring core retail and leisure assets where we can bring our expertise to enhance investment returns, long term vibrancy and sustainability.

Due to successful leadership RivingtonHark has doubled its corporate activities in the last year and is anticipating further growth as the requirement for expertise and guardianship of town centre real estate grows.  The RivingtonHark team are both passionate and highly experienced at delivering successful and sustainable places and are privileged to work with some phenomenal investment partners, clients, and stakeholders

Mark’s award recognises this progress, vison, and success.

Indirock has landed!

Brand new bouldering centre, Indirock, opened its doors in March and brings a new lease of life to the Victoria Centre

RivingtonHark are delighted to announce that bouldering wall business Indirock has officially opened in Southend. The bouldering wall – which is housed in a 7,500 square foot former retail unit on the first floor- represents an exciting shift in the use of retail space within the Victoria Centre.

Starting as the dream of husband and wife Emily Vermont and Gordon Conroy in 2019, Indirock was supported on its journey by Southend-on-sea and RivingtonHark in transforming a long-term empty unit within the Victoria Centre and turning it into an exciting new space.

Indoor climbing wall Indirock seeks to give locals and visitors the opportunity to bring some adventure to their every day, by taking part in one of the UK’s fastest growing pastimes. Bouldering is the simplest form of rock climbing, no need for ropes or harnesses. Just a pair of shoes, some chalk and you’re ready to go. Which means it has something for everyone: from experienced climbers to complete beginners. Currently welcoming adults and children aged 6+, and with classes starting for younger children in April.

Emily Vermont, Founder and CEO of Indirock, says: “We are beyond excited and relieved to finally have opened our doors to the public after three years of tireless work. We felt strongly that we didn’t want to be one of the voices complaining about our high street – instead we wanted to be part of a new chapter. With the council buying the Victoria Centre at the end of 2020, and Southend’s new status as a City, the opportunity is even greater for Indirock to contribute to the area which we love and call home.”

A passion for climbing, as well as a social conscience, inspired the business to be built on 3 fundamental aims:

●        Creating the most accessible bouldering wall in Southend

●        Being part of the revival of the town centre

●        Supporting vulnerable young people from the local area into work

Indirock’s mission aligns with many of Southend Borough Council’s 2050 Plan ambitions: to connect and involve the community; encourage locals to be active and ultimately create a sense of pride and joy in Southend.

Mark Harvey, Executive Director and Head of Asset Management at RivingtonHark says: “This letting is an important first step in our journey to revitalise the centre and, in particular, our aim of bringing in more leisure and community based facilities. It has been great to deal with the Co-founders of the business who are passionate about the project and the positive impact this initiative will bring to the local community. We share their vision and think that Indirock is the perfect catalyst for our wider plans for the asset and we are thrilled to have them open within the centre and ready to go for Easter”.

Castle Quarter welcomes new street food concept

Market Asset Management to curate new ‘Castle Social’ street food and entertainment offer in Norwich

As part of the continued work in repositioning the asset as a mixed-use destination, RivingtonHark are pleased to announce that Norwich’s Castle Quarter is to be the new home for an innovative new street food market following the letting of its entire food court to specialist operator Market Asset Management (MAM).

MAM will transform the space into ‘Castle Social’, a new dining and entertainment concept incorporating five new street food kitchens, a live performance space and a programme of regular events. MAM has signed a ten-year lease on the 18,500 sq ft area.

Occupying the top floor of the centre with great views of the city’s medieval Castle, and capitalising on the outside space provided by the external garden terrace, Castle Social will bring in local, independent operators to create an iconic venue and destination in its own right. As a leading market and food hall operator MAM manages successful schemes across the UK, such as the independent food hall Sheffield Plate and Doncaster’s award-winning markets.

With leisure operators such as Vue, Boom Battle Bar, Putt Putt Noodle mini golf, PureGym, Superbowl and Spy Missions open and trading – alongside a consolidation and re-anchoring of the retail offer – Castle Quarter is Norwich’s go-to location for socialising as well as shopping.

Mark Harvey, executive director and head of asset management at RivingtonHark, said: “Offering a range of local independent street food operators, alongside a bar and entertainment, Castle Social will create a destination that people will actively choose to visit and support the other fantastic activities we have in the centre. Catering for everything from a morning coffee to post-cinema cocktails, it will bring new people to the centre and is emblematic of the wider transformation taking place at Castle Quarter. We can’t wait to welcome Market Asset Management to Norwich and help its curation of a truly unique space for the city.”

Hayden Ferriby, commercial director at Market Asset Management, added: “We are so excited about opening our latest venue in such a special location. We always aim to bring something that goes beyond just food and drink, and Castle Quarter provides a fantastic opportunity to welcome the local community to something truly unique. People want more than just shops or food on their own, they want a unique destination that gives them an experience to remember, and that is our aim with Castle Social.”

RivingtonHark was advised by Jamieson Mills and Roche Chartered Surveyors, while Market Asset Management was unrepresented.

RivingtonHark appointed as Strategic Asset Advisor, Development & Leasing Manager at Enfield

Following a rigorous procurement exercise RivingtonHark has been appointed as Strategic Asset Advisor, Development Manager and Leasing Advisors for Palace Gardens and Palace Exchange shopping centres in Enfield

The schemes have 63 units totalling 380,000 sqft, are anchored by M&S and Waitrose with two multi storey car parks totalling 1,513 parking spaces.  Together, they form the prime shopping pitch for the town and wider borough of Enfield.

The investor acquired Palace Exchange Shopping Centre, Enfield in 2017 and in 2018, subsequently acquired the adjacent Palace Gardens Shopping Centre.

RivingtonHark’s specialist shopping centre team will be supporting the owner’s asset management team whilst our development and regeneration team work with all stakeholders to devise a deliverable mixed use business plan that seeks to transform the area, improve the asset and un lock the inherent potential of the site.

The appointment followed a truly collaborative effort across the expertise within the company and demonstrated the broad skill sets within RivingtonHark and our experience of working successfully with Local Authorities.

David Lewis, Executive Director and Strategic Lead across the project commented ‘ This instruction is a fantastic opportunity to bring all RivingtonHark’s experience to an important London Borough with lots of potential in much need of improvement.  We look forward to working with the owner’s asset management team to fulfil the potential that Palace Gardens and Palace Exchange shopping centres clearly have’.

Wow Wow Wow

Test events go down a storm at the Arena

Test Events are bringing fantastic feedback: The Copr Bay Arena opened it’s doors on Friday and Saturday to the public who were invited to help test the venue ahead of formal opening later in March. Those arriving were able to experience, for the first time, the new bridge crossing Oystermouth Road and then the pure ‘magic’ of the LED light display which cloaks the building. Inside the WOW factor continued within the foyer, a triple height space which is defined by the glittering, gold, feature ceiling and sweeping spiral stair which connects the different levels.
Local bands took to the stage and brought a taste of what is to come for Swansea, as an enthusiastic audience were treated to the amazing sound system and could stand in awe of the full splendour that is the 3,500 capacity auditorium. An amazing team effort from all concerned to get to this pivotal moment !
RivingtonHark are proud to be the Development Managers for this truly transformational regeneration project. City & County of Swansea are developing Copr Bay and it is part-funded by the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. The new bridge over Oystermouth Road is part-funded by the Welsh Government through the Active Travel initiative.

New Lettings Announced at Copr Bay

With final preparations now underway by RivingtonHark and City & County of Swansea Council to launch the first phase of Swansea’s £135m Copr Bay scheme, we are thrilled to announce a trio of new, locally-led businesses will take up space at the new district.

KokoDoo Korean Fried Chicken,
Frozziyo – a frozen yoghurt concept and
Imperial Candy – worldwide sweet treats
Each has signed leases for Cupid Way, a new commercial and F&B hub that connects the city centre to the new Swansea Arena and 1.1-acre coastal park.

The lettings, which were secured and progressed by Copr Bay development manager RivingtonHark, come amid final preparations for the launch of the multi-million pound scheme in the coming weeks, with the new 3,500-capacity arena set to start hosting test events later this month.

Hammerson completes £120M Leeds Shopping Centres Sale

Hammerson completed the sale of its Leeds Victoria Gate and Victoria Quarter shopping centres to real estate "disruptor" Redical for £120 million

In a stock market announcement Hammerson said the assets comprise the 19,400-square-metre Victoria Quarter shopping gallery, 37,600-square-metre Victoria Gate shopping centre and the interlinking Wrays Buildings.

Hammerson said the price is in line with the 30 June 2021 book value, which represented a net initial yield of 7.4%. The proceeds will be used to reduce net debt.

The price paid again underlines the amount retail property values have fallen in recent years. It paid £136 million for the Victoria Quarter in 2012 and is believed to have spent £164 million building Victoria Gate, which opened in 2016.

In a statement confirming the talks earlier this week the REIT said its strategy remains to “realign the portfolio to focus on prime urban estates through disposals of non-core assets, to strengthen the balance sheet, and to re-cycle capital into its core portfolio and its development pipeline”.

CBRE advised Hammerson, while Knight Frank advised Redical.

CoStar News revealed in January that Hammerson was lining up the Union Square shopping centre in Aberdeen and the Victoria Leeds quarter for its next sales for between £150 million-£200 million. It is thought that JLL has been appointed to bring Aberdeen to market.

The shopping centres are unusual for Hammerson in that they are 100% owned by the REIT.

It announced at the end of last year that it had exchanged or completed on the sale of six assets for £92 million including its stake in the Silverburn Shopping Centre in Glasgow.

It described the sales as in line with a strategy of reducing debt, simplifying the portfolio and generating capital for redeployment. With minority stake disposals of French and UK assets (£73 million) and its UK retail parks portfolio (£330 million) sold in the first half of the year, the sales took Hammerson’s total gross proceeds from disposals in 2021 to £495 million.

The REIT has seen significant change at the top over the past year-and-a-half as it restructures its business and reworks its retail destinations.

Redical Holdings, a new real estate “disruptor” launched by Aalto Invest co-founders Mikko Syrjanen and Petteri Barman, entered the UK retail market in September by buying Clayton Square shopping centre in Liverpool from Patrizia for around £21 million or an 8.94% yield.

RivingtonHark is acting as strategic adviser to support Redical Holdings on its expansion into the UK retail market. It will again be Redical’s asset adviser at Leeds.

Redical founders Syrjanen and Barman co-founded Aalto Invest in 2010, built it into a global alternative asset manager and sold it to Man Group in 2017. With teams in the US, UK and Switzerland, Aalto Invest specialised in real estate equity, real estate debt and long-short equity strategies.

The duo then co-headed Man Group’s real estate business and served on the Man Group executive committee from 2017 to 2020. During this time, Man Global Private Markets’ assets under management grew to $3 billion.

Prior to launching Aalto Invest, the pair worked in Morgan Stanley’s investment banking division in London, then co-headed Cheyne Capital’s real estate debt and alternative investments team.