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Business property investments to top £300m during year

By Margaret Canning

Published 20/08/2015

Nicky Finnieston
Nicky Finnieston

Commercial property investments in Northern Ireland are expected to top £300m this year, a major agency predicted.

Lisney said transaction volume so far this year had exceeded expectations, with operators like Cerberus - which bought the entire Nama portfolio in the province - starting to sell on its acquisitions.

And Lisney said a plan by an investor in community shopping centres to extend its portfolio could also stimulate interest here.

The firm said its notable deals included the sale of Erneside Shopping Centre in Enniskillen, the sale of the building housing Boots on Belfast's Royal Avenue and the purchase of The Parkway Shopping Centre in Coulby Newham in England by an investor.

Declan Flynn, managing director of Lisney, Northern Ireland, said: "Last year in Northern Ireland, bank deleveraging contributed to the vast majority of property investment transactions circa £400m.

"For 2015, we expected transaction levels to fall due to the limited supply of investment properties.

"It is therefore encouraging that we are on course to achieve a transaction value in excess of £300m, a figure much higher than first anticipated."

He said operators like Cerberus, which had bought loan books from institutions such as Nama and the banks were emerging as the "key sellers" in 2015.

And he predicted that the appetite for property from investors here, in the UK and even overseas, would continue into next year.  

Lisney also announced that retail director Nicky Finnieston would replace former investment and retail director Andrew Marsden, who is leaving the firm after 21 years.

Mr Finnieston said the firm had notched up a number of deals.

"In May of this year, we advised on the acquisition of Erneside Shopping Centre, which sold for £34m.

"The scheme, which generates an annual rent of circa £3m, hosting retailers such as Marks and Spencer, Next and River Island, was acquired by Tristan Capital Partners and Ellandi, the UK's leading specialist shopping centre investor.

"While this was Ellandi's first acquisition in Northern Ireland, its announcement in July of plans to build a portfolio of community shopping centres in partnership with the Bridges Property Alternatives Fund III, managed by specialist sustainable and impact investor Bridges Ventures Bridges Ventures, could generate further interest within the local market."

He said Lisney had also represented Ellandi and Bridges Ventures in their acquisition of Parkway Shopping Centre in Coulby Newham.

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