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.