Belfast Telegraph

Newry store sells for £30m as major asset firms look to invest

By Margaret Canning

A Tesco Extra in Newry has been sold for £30m – 10% over the asking price – after three months on the market.

Portadown-based developer Turkington Holdings said the sale to asset management company Scottish Widows Investment Partnership marked "a real success story" for the Northern Ireland economy.

The 93,000 sq ft store had been on the market since July with an asking price of £27.3m. It is let to Tesco for 25 years at an income of around £1.6m per year.

Director Trevor Turkington said: "We worked in partnership with Ulster Bank and their dedicated lending and property teams to turn a derelict site into the base for a vibrant commercial enterprise, sustaining around 200 construction jobs in the process and enabling the creation of hundreds of new retail jobs for the long-term.

"Having worked with Ulster Bank we are now delighted to secure a strong sale price for the property from one of Europe's largest asset managers," he said.

It's understood the bidding process involved some of the world's biggest asset management firms.

Ellvena Graham, head of Ulster Bank Northern Ireland, welcomed the deal: "We're delighted to have supported a local development company in delivering positive economic benefits for the area.

"There have been a number of positive signs evident for the local economy in recent months, and the completion of this transaction is a further and welcome indication of returning confidence."

Commercial property agency CBRE acted for Turkington while Savills in Belfast acted for the buyer. Brian Lavery, managing director of CBRE in Belfast, said: "This is certainly the largest investment property transaction in Northern Ireland this year and one of the largest that we have seen for a number of years.

"There have been signs of activity returning to the market and growing demand from a range of potential purchasers, including a number of large funds and institutions.

"We would expect to see further noteworthy transactions in the weeks and months ahead."

The purchase is Scottish Widows Investment Partnership's first major acquisition since it shelled out £48m to buy Longwood Retail Park in Newtownabbey from Corbo Properties three years ago.

Belfast Telegraph