Property firm Turkington Holdings sells leisure park in £2m deal
Turkington Holdings has off-loaded its Eastpoint Leisure Park outside Dundonald for around £2.2m in the latest multi-million disposal by the property group.
The Portadown firm, which made a number of multi-million disposals of retail stores last year, sold the entertainment development to newly-established company Dunbridge Ltd, owners of the Omniplex Cinema Group.
Their latest sale is the first multi-million pound commercial property deal for Northern Ireland in 2014.
As well as their acquisition, Eastpoint's new owners have also announced their plans to extend the complex by 10,000 sq ft to add another four big screens to the existing Omniplex cinema at the site.
Omniplex operations director Paul John Anderson will also manage the 90,000 sq ft complex, which opened in 2008.
It also has five family restaurants and a soft play area for children.
Mr Anderson said: "Dundonald Omniplex was the first digital cinema complex in Ireland and this announcement gives us the opportunity literally to build on that achievement as well as to inject new energy and vision into the overall site.
"The complex delivers an annual footfall of 500,000 and this financial investment should significantly increase that number but also generate much needed additional local employment.
"As part of a widening cluster of excellent local entertainment and leisure facilities, we believe that our business future in Northern Ireland is bright and full of potential."
Dunbridge has said it will invest a total of £5m in the site, including the purchase price. The business already owns 11 cinemas in Northern Ireland and 11 in the Republic.
Omniplex employs 250 people in Northern Ireland and said it plans to create 10 new jobs at Dundonald.
There will also be employment during the construction of the extension, which is due to start in September, subject to planning approval.
First Minister Peter Robinson, who is also an MLA for the area, visited Eastpoint with Jim White, Vikki Nelson and Sharon Skillen from Castlereagh Council leisure parks committee.
Mr Robinson said: "Dundonald Omniplex has been a fantastically successful project and this deal will cement that success, further boosting the economic health of the area by making high-quality entertainment facilities available to local visitors and overseas tourists alike."
Jim White, chairman of the leisure and parks committee, said: "This is good news because tourism and leisure are vital to the borough's economy and provide great opportunities as a catalyst for employment, as well as helping to grow private sector businesses like Omniplex to the benefit of the whole community."
Turkington Holdings last year sold a Tesco Extra on Newry's Downshire Road for over £30m to Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.
The company also offloaded a B&Q retail development in Craigavon to a Jersey property fund for £12m, while a Tesco in Craigavon fetched over £23m.