Belfast Telegraph

Belfast's CastleCourt sold for £125m to Wirefox

By Rachel Martin

One of Northern Ireland's best known shopping centres has changed hands in a major deal for the region.

The £125m paid for Belfast's CastleCourt Shopping Centre is one of the biggest single transactions to take place here in recent years and will see Co Down investment firm Wirefox take over the centre which had been owned by Hermes Fund Managers Limited since 2012.

In a statement, the new owners said they plan to invest "significantly" in the centre.

Wirefox added that it also expects to announce several new retailers in the coming months.

CastleCourt first opened its doors to the public in 1990, becoming Belfast's first major shopping centre.

The centre was developed by John Laing on the site of the former Grand Central Hotel, whose guests included The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

In 2004, CastleCourt underwent a significant refurbishment to upgrade the existing food court, car park and customer facilities and more recently was re-branded.

Today, the centre is home to more than 100 retailers, including anchor store Debenhams, and welcomes 12.5 million shoppers through its doors each year.

Ben Turtle of Savills Northern Ireland said: "We're delighted to have assisted Wirefox in their acquisition of CastleCourt - adding to their strong portfolio of property assets across the UK.

"Despite the shock of Brexit and ongoing political uncertainty, the retail sector in Northern Ireland continues to perform strongly, with positive retailer performances and robust letting activity.

"With consumer confidence at its highest level since the third quarter of 2015, and the economy expected to grow at a faster rate than previously predicted, we expect Wirefox to reap the benefits of this high-profile acquisition."

Belfast Telegraph