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.

Chester Northgate offices launch to the market

The first offices have been launched to the market as part of the Northgate development where RivingtonHark are retained as development managers to the Council.

The offices, finished to a high specification, have views of the city centre, and will be located near the new market and newly named Exchange Square.  The square will be home to a number of exciting F&B and leisure operators.  Already signed up to take space are The Florist, Cosy Club, Brewdog, Tapas Revolution and Picturehouse Cinema.

The office accommodation offers a mix of new and refurbished space and ranges from 1,200-9,000 sq ft. It will be available for occupation from this summer.

Acting agents are Legat Owen.  For more details please visit their website.

RivingtonHark Continues Growth With Senior Hires

RivingtonHark has appointed two new members to its Asset Management team to support the expansion of the business

Nick Williams joins as Director and Head of the Northern Office and Max Collett as Asset Manager.

Nick will be responsible for running RivingtonHark’s Northern Office based in Liverpool. He has 15 years of asset management and leasing experience.  Most recently he spent 5 years as the Asset Manager for the Trafford Centre and prior to that had senior roles at Westfield dealing with significant, complex retail assets including projects in Derby, Bradford and Nottingham.

Max’s background is also rooted in retail and joins from TSB Bank where he was asset manager. Prior to that he spent several years at Avison Young in the retail agency team where he advised both retailers and landlords including several Councils.  Max will be working across several portfolio assets but with particular focus on the assets in the North.

RivingtonHark has recently won a number of new exciting mandates to help reposition and repurpose significant town centre assets for both private and public sector clients.

Mark Harvey, Executive Director and Head of Asset Management commented;   “We are pleased and excited to have both Nick and Max join our team and play a key part in the next stage of our business growth story. We are looking forward to bringing the skills, experience, and personalities that Nick and Max have into the team and applying them to the portfolio. 2021 was a busy year for the business and we are looking forward to continuing to deliver for our private and public sector investor clients and partners through 2022 and beyond.”

Max Collett

RivingtonHark appoints Asset Manager as business continues to grow

Max Collett has joined as Asset Manager

Max joined RivingtonHark as Asset Manager following 5 years working within the retail sector. He has client side experience working as an asset manager in the property team at TSB Bank and prior to that he worked at Avison Young (formerly GVA) in the Retail Agency team advising both landlord and occupier clients. During his time at Avison Young he worked with clients such as RBS/NatWest, Lush and various local authorities including Westminster City Council.

Max has a good working knowledge of the retail sector and is passionate about creating sustainable and fit for purpose town centres for the future.

Max Collett

After 2 years of unprecedented challenged faced by real estate, experts share their predictions for 2022.

“While the future of the high street has never been more uncertain, there is reason to be optimistic. That’s because the conversation is now focused on people not property: creating brilliant places for them to live, work and play.

A modern city centre should be masterplanned, with strategically considered retail; a vibrant food and beverage offer, including independents and big names; leisure pursuits, both indoor, such as cinemas and theatres, and outdoor, such as green spaces for exercise or relaxation; and community amenities including homes, educational and wellbeing facilities.

The regeneration of Swansea, on which RivingtonHark acts as development manager for Copr Bay phase one, is a case in point. With affordable homes, a new arena and a better connection between the urban realm and the natural setting through active travel infrastructure, Copr Bay is a benchmark for how we can reshape our cities to be authentic to their natural assets and heritage, as well as places where people thrive in 2022 and beyond.”

Chester Northgate welcomes Brewdog

Pioneering independent Scottish craft brewer BrewDog is heading to one of the UK’s most historic cities and opening a bar as part of the Chester Northgate development when the scheme fully opens in October 2022.

Since its launch in 2007, BrewDog has taken the world of brewing by storm, with its flagship Punk IPA and groundbreaking Equity for Punks crowdfunding initiatives, it now has over 100 bars across the globe, exports into over 60 countries, and has breweries in Ellon Scotland, Columbus Ohio, Berlin Germany and Brisbane Australia.

BrewDog will join The Florist, Tapas Revolution, Cosy Club and Picturehouse Cinema already announced as key lettings; and will occupy a 3,000 sq. ft. space adjacent to the new Chester Market Hall, fronting Princess Street and the newly named Exchange Square at the heart of the Northgate development in the city centre.

Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth, said: “We are delighted to secure such a high-profile and innovative brand to join us at Northgate, BrewDog will be a fantastic asset to the scheme.

“Their unique and maverick approach has established a reputation as a world-famous brewer, and I know residents and visitors to Chester will be excited to see them in the city.”

In securing the BrewDog letting, the council was advised by its retained Leasing Managers RivingtonHark.

For more details on the Chester Northgate development see: www.chesternorthgate.com

Copr Bay construction impact on the local, regional and Wales wide economies

From engineering and decorating to flooring and landscaping, new figures show businesses in the Swansea Bay City Region have benefited from over £34.6 million worth of work thanks to the construction of Copr Bay phase one.

As well as Swansea Arena, the Copr Bay phase one development also includes a 1.1-acre coastal park, new homes, the new bridge over Oystermouth Road, new apartments and new spaces for leisure and hospitality businesses.

The figures also show Swansea-based businesses benefitted from £17.9m of the £34.6m spend. Businesses elsewhere in Wales outside the Swansea Bay City Region benefitted from a further spend of £18.7m.

Copr Bay phase one is being developed by Swansea Council and advised by development managers RivingtonHark. Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd is leading on its construction.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “The Copr Bay phase one development is so important to Swansea, South West Wales and Wales as a whole not just because of the extra footfall, spending and jobs it will generate in our city centre, but also because of the local, regional and Wales-based supply chain businesses the project has been able to benefit throughout its construction.

“These figures show a huge amount of money has been reinvested in the Swansea, regional and Welsh economies throughout construction of the emerging district, which has made outstanding progress during the pandemic.

“The thousands of construction workers who have been on site since building work started will also have been spending money in Swansea’s shops, restaurants, hotels, pubs and other businesses, which has been a welcome boost for our business community in these challenging times.

“But as well as Copr Bay, we’ll be looking to benefit local businesses in this way as part of all our major redevelopment plans in Swansea. This includes the construction of the new office development at the former Oceana nightclub site on The Kingsway, with an event having already been held for local businesses to learn about the opportunities forming part of that project.”

Both the arena element of Copr Bay and the new office development planned for The Kingsway are part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal – an investment of up to £1.3bn in nine major programmes and projects across the Swansea Bay City Region which have all now been approved by the UK Government and Welsh Government.

The new bridge over Oystermouth Road in Swansea, which also forms part of Copr Bay phase one, is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s Active Travel fund.

A seasonal boost for Mill Gate Shopping Centre, Bury

Never a place to stand still, Mill Gate, Bury’s popular community Shopping Centre is having a busy festive season and gearing up for an exciting New Year with a host of new and exciting shops.

Mill Gate is the heart of Bury town centre and footfall has been resilient compared to the UK average. Since the start of the pandemic we have been able to welcome over 21 new businesses to the scheme – a mix of national retail, independents, and leisure occupiers. In that same period existing tenants have committed to longer term leases with 38 renewals and regears being completed.

Not only has Mill Gate continually sought to improve its retail offering but we also engaged with the needs of the wider community ensuring that the centre is a destination for all. In addition to the retail lettings secured we were also able to attract non-retail occupiers with new tenants including Bury Football College, Job Centre and Post Office.

Led by asset managers RivingtonHark the fantastic centre team also found innovative and creative ways to activate vacant space and engage with the community. Mill Gate was the first UK shopping Centre to provide TikTok turf, an exclusive space for TikTokkers and content editors to visit and make original viral video content. The aim was to bring the online trend to an offline experience in a physical place. It has proved to be a great success and brought a really popular activity in the centre.

Mark Harvey, Head of Asset Management at RivingtonHark said: “We have welcomed many exciting new tenants throughout the year and brought some great innovation to the centre to ensure it is relevant and aligned to the needs of the community. There is a really positive feeling around the scheme and I am looking forward to building on this in 2022.”

Lighting tests continue at the Swansea Arena

Swansea Arena has been sparkling in recent days as early lighting tests continue at the venue

Over 1,600 gold-coloured panels have now been installed around the outside of the development, complete with 95,000 LED lights.

Many thousands of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians will have noticed the most recent tests, with thousands of sparkling white lights giving the arena a festive look in the early evenings in the build-up to Christmas.

Further preparatory tests will take place in coming weeks and months.

The tests will help determine what works best on the arena’s façade to better understand how it can be used in future.

The arena is one feature of the £135m Copr Bay phase one district being developed by Swansea Council and advised by development managers RivingtonHark.

Construction of Copr Bay phase one – led by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd – will be complete later this year, with the arena, to be run by the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), opening its doors in early 2022.

As well as Swansea Arena, Copr Bay phase one also includes a 1.1-acre coastal park, the new bridge over Oystermouth Road, new apartments, new car parking and new spaces for leisure and hospitality businesses.

The arena feature of the development is being part-funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal, with the bridge being part-funded by the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “The festive sparkling lights many people have seen around the outside of Swansea Arena in the early evenings are a sign of things to come as this iconic new Swansea landmark starts to take even more shape ahead of its completion.

“Further lighting tests will follow in coming weeks, with the arena’s programme of stars for 2022 also making more and more progress.

“But as well as world class entertainment, the arena and the whole of the Copr Bay district is worth so much more. It’ll generate hundreds of jobs for local people, create more footfall and spending in our city centre, and give Swansea’s economy a £17.1m a year boost.”

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “The lights outside the arena in our emerging Copr Bay district complement everything else we’re doing in Swansea to create a festive atmosphere for residents, businesses and visitors to the city.

“This includes the return of Waterfront Winterland – run by Sayers – at the nearby Museum Park and the arrival of the Christmas Market in the city centre.

“Thousands of colour-changing Christmas lights are also now in place in other parts of the city centre, along with two Christmas trees and the return of the panto at the Grand Theatre from December 10 to January 2.”

St Johns Liverpool wins 3 Green Apple awards!

St Johns on a winning streak with 3 Green Apples Awards!

RivingtonHark are delighted to announce that St Johns, Liverpool has been awarded 3 prestigious Green Apples recognising the team’s commitment to the environment with national accolades presented for our waste operation, team well being and progressive approach to biodiversity.

Over the last few years, we’ve been working hard to develop exciting initiatives that do good and deliver real results for both people and planet.

In 2020, we installed our living green wall on the exterior of the centre, which has increased green space in the city, improved air quality and provided a habitat for over 15 species of plant – and at 65 metres in length, it’s one of the longest walls of its kind in the country!

In 2021, we continued this journey with the installation of our rooftop beehives. These hives have become home to over 40,000 bees which now pollinate flowers, plants and trees within a three-mile radius of the centre. The success of these exciting projects also led to us being shortlisted for a national award for green business initiatives.

These are just some of the ways we’ve been ensuring we have a positive impact on the world around us, working in collaboration with organisations across the Liverpool City Region and we are proud these have received national recognition through the Green Apple awards.

We’ll be continuing to develop exciting, new ways of creating more sustainable centres across our portfolio, to benefit our customers and the wider communities we serve. Embedding sustainable practices across our centres and our business is a priority for RivingtonHark.

For more sustainable achievements please see our ESG page here: https://rivingtonhark.com/esg/