Belfast Telegraph

Americans snap up city retail parks for £50m

By Margaret Canning

A US firm has bought two Belfast shopping parks from developer Sam Morrison in the latest big money buy-up by an American company in Northern Ireland.

Mr Morrison's Corbo Properties off-loaded both Shane Retail Park on Boucher Road in south Belfast and north Belfast's Cityside Retail Park – formerly known as Yorkgate – to New York-based Marathon Asset Management.

The US firm purchased The Obel, Northern Ireland's tallest building, last month for over £20m – though has only disclosed its identity with the latest deal. It's believed Shane Retail Park sold for nearly £30m, while Cityside Retail Park, which attracts value retailers, fetched around £20m.

Savills Northern Ireland acted for the buyer in the acquisition – which took just under seven working days to complete, a new record for property deals since the downturn. Ben Turtle, director of investments at Savills Northern Ireland, said: "The acquisition of Cityside and Shane retail parks less than a month after the sale of The Obel is reflective of the increasing confidence in Northern Ireland as a location for investment."

Commercial property agents, CBRE, acted for the seller. Brian Lavery, managing director of the Belfast office, said the deal confirmed the strong interest in Northern Ireland property assets: "There is a wealth of external investment money waiting to buy product in Northern Ireland. It's good for the market here and the liquidity of the market going forward."

Cityside Retail Park is just north of the city centre and has value retailers like Asda, B&M Bargains, Sports Direct and Home Bargains. Shane Retail Park is on Boucher Road close to Stockman's Lane and is home to centre-market retailers like Homebase, Argos, Smyths Toys and Dunelm Mill.

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