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Co Antrim retail park plans two extra units as new owners line up expansion

By John Mulgrew

Published 05/10/2016

Smyths Toys, one of the new tenants at the expanding Valley Retail Park in Newtownabbey
Smyths Toys, one of the new tenants at the expanding Valley Retail Park in Newtownabbey

The owners of a Co Antrim retail park are expanding with new food and restaurant units, it can be revealed. London-based AEW UK, which paid more than £7m for the Valley Retail Park in Newtownabbey last year, is planning two new units, which it hopes will attract additional cafes or restaurants to the area.

The new sites are 2,000 sq ft each. A planning application has been submitted, along with promotional material produced by commercial property agents TDK to aid the search for new tenants.

AEW said the two "pod units" would be completed by autumn next year, subject to planning approval.

"These will be suitable for a variety of uses including coffee shop and restaurant," it added.

Valley Retail Park lost its anchor tenant, Harvey Norman, late last year.

But it gained a replacement, and another new retail operator earlier this year.

GO Outdoors set up shop in Valley Retail Park in the premises formerly occupied by Harvey Norman.

In May, it was announced Smyths Toys would join the existing range of stores on offer.

It is understood that both lettings have led to a significant increase in footfall.

The promotional brochure for the additional units reads: "The scheme has benefited from the recent openings of GO Outdoors and Smyths Toys, who have significantly raised the profile and footfall at the scheme."

The site is also home to Halfords, Harry Corry and more.

Plans for the new additions also include changes to the road layout of the site.

AEW announced the completion of the acquisition to the London Stock Exchange in August 2015, in the latest purchase for its Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), which has invested around £40m.

AEW portfolio manager Alex Short said: "We are pleased to have now completed four acquisitions for the REIT and are working in line with our proposed timetable, as set out to investors prior to the REIT launch.

"We currently have under offer a range of similar deals and therefore expect to be able to make further announcements over the coming weeks."

Elsewhere, Damolly Retail Park in Newry has been sold to city fit-out firm MJM Group for more than £30m.

The site, which is fully let, includes a range of business tenants such as B&Q, Lidl, Curry's PC World and McDonald's.

The latest major retail park sale here comes as fellow Newry shopping centre The Quays has started work on a £20m expansion.

It said the growth would create up to 500 new jobs as it benefited from a post-Brexit increase in cross-border retail.

And around 100 new jobs are being created with the opening of a new McDonald's at a Co Down retail park in a £2m investment.

The new restaurant will be based at The Outlet in Banbridge, and is part of its latest expansion.

Belfast Telegraph

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