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Fairhill Shopping Centre in Ballymena sold to UK investor for £46m

By John Mulgrew

Published 29/09/2015

Fairhill Shopping Centre is on the market
Fairhill Shopping Centre is on the market

Fairhill Shopping Centre in Ballymena - formerly owned by property developer Sam Morrison - has been sold to a UK-based investor for £46.5m.

Rockspring Property Investment Managers snapped up the Co Antrim retail site. It comes after the Belfast Telegraph revealed the centre had been put on the market along with two other major retail assets belonging to Sam Morrison's company Corbo - Altnagelvin Retail Park in Strabane and the Showgrounds in Omagh.

Ulster Bank sold around £50m in loans relating to Corbo last year to a consortium made up of Deutsche Bank, Burlington Loan Management, KW Real Estate in Ireland and KW Investment in Luxembourg.

It's understood those funders have been key to putting the parks and shopping centre on the market.

Richard Bains from Rockspring said: "Fairhill Shopping Centre is a prime shopping centre with a strong national retailer base.

"This is Rockspring's first acquisition in Northern Ireland, and we are excited to be working with Cordatus who have extensive experience in this jurisdiction."

The 295,000 sq ft centre is more than 95% let, and home to retailers including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Top Shop.

Cordatus Real Estate is asset manager for the centre, while commercial property agent CBRE was behind the sale.

Mike Channing, director at Cordatus, said: "Fairhill offers a great opportunity for added value asset management and we look forward to working closely with Rockspring to realise the full potential of the centre."

Fairhill is the latest large retail site to change hands in the last few months. Three other major retail properties have been sold for a combined £53m, according to law firm Tughans.

Lisnagelvin Retail Park in Strabane was sold for £16.7m to M&G Real Estate, while Pradera and Tristan Capital Partners acquired the Showgrounds Retail Park in Omagh for £26.7m.

Meanwhile, Newry retail park Damolly - also formerly owned by Sam Morrison - has gone on the market for £33.5m just five years after it was bought by its current London landlord.

And two of Northern Ireland's biggest retail parks - Junction One and The Outlet - have gone on the market with an overall guide price of around £60m.

The shopping park giants are up for grabs after being put on the market by London-based property firm DTZ.

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