Belfast Telegraph

Contracts to be exchanged in £125m sale of CastleCourt to Wirefox to be sealed this week

By John Mulgrew

A deal to buy Belfast's CastleCourt for £125m is due to complete this week.

Co Down property firm Wirefox, headed by BJ Eastwood, is understood to have been eyeing up the city centre retail site for some time.

Now, it's understood contracts are due to be exchanged for the property this week.

In June the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the deal was expected to be completed within weeks.

At the time Wirefox - which is run by developer BJ Eastwood - said it does not comment on "speculation and rumour".

CastleCourt has been owned by Hermes property fund since 2012.

The sale of one of Northern Ireland's best-known shopping centres will be one of the largest single commercial property deals to take place in Northern Ireland in recent years.

In 2015 CastleCourt underwent a rebrand after 25 years in business.

Wirefox, which is based in Holywood, has purchased a raft of major retail and office developments across the UK in the last 12 months.

That includes a £35m office portfolio in Scotland. It has taken on nine buildings covering 400,000sq ft of office space close to Glasgow.

The Rockford property portfolio includes premises housing technology giant IBM, three buildings at Trilogy Business Park and 1 Forrest Gate at Tannochside Business Park.

In 2015 Bangor shopping centre Bloomfield was sold for £54.5m to London investment firm Ellandi and Tristan Capital Partners.

Other major deals here in recent years included the sale of Fairhill shopping centre in Ballymena, which went for more than £45m.

And Junction One near Antrim and The Outlet near Banbridge, which are two of Northern Ireland's biggest shopping retail parks, were sold to Lotus Group for £40m.

Forestside in south Belfast and Foyleside in Londonderry were also put up for sale for around £150m. However, it's understood both have since been taken off the market.

Meanwhile, a commercial property report from CBRE has stated that, while the second quarter of the year has been slow, some £220m of deals are currently going through legals and are due to be completed in the coming weeks.

During the second quarter of the year, just £18m was invested in seven separate transactions across Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph

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