A major Northern Ireland retail park has been sold for £18m, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
The Holywood Exchange retail park on the outskirts of Belfast is home to a range of businesses, including Decathlon, Next Home and a new Lidl superstore, which opened its doors at the end of last month.
The 150,000 sq ft shopping spot, which was formerly owned by Aviva Investors, has been bought by UK-based David Samuel Properties.
It's the second major acquisition David Samuel Properties has made here, after buying Crescent Link Retail Park in Londonderry last year.
The deal is of the biggest commercial property deals to take place in 2020, amid a year of turmoil for the economy and the retail sector, due to the impact of Covid-19.
Holywood Exchange's new owner says it's "very confident about the economic prospects for Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole" and says the latest purchase "very much builds on this confidence in the Northern Ireland economy".
It says it's also planning to announce a new tenant for the retail destination in the coming weeks.
"The impact of the pandemic has affected all businesses and the retail sector has been no exception to this," Matthew Beddow, spokesman for David Samuel Asset Management, told Business Telegraph.
"However, Holywood Exchange is a proven and popular retail destination and the stores have worked very hard to implement social distancing measures and procedures to provide a safe place for people to shop.
"We are delighted that Lidl has opened very successfully in the last 10 days with their offer complementing the likes of Home Bargains, Decathlon, EZ Living, Harvey Norman and Next Home that can already be found at Holywood Exchange.
"We purchased Crescent Link Retail Park in Derry in October 2019 and our acquisition of Holywood Exchange very much builds on this confidence in the Northern Ireland economy.
“We are very confident that we will be able to build on the success of Holywood Exchange and we are hoping to announce a new addition to the store line-up in the coming weeks to complement the Costa Coffee, Subway and Burger King stores already at the retail park.
“We believe strongly in local partnerships and continue to work with a very experienced Belfast-based team of consultants and contractors who have advised us throughout the acquisition process.”
The company bought Crescent Link Retail Park in Derry for a reported sum of £30m.
Since the purchase, it’s revealed plans for a £5m investment which will include the expansion of the M&S Foodhall, and a new retailer, The Food Warehouse by Iceland.
David Samuel Properties has bought a range of properties across the UK over the last couple of years, including a prominent Gloucester office scheme and a collection of eight industrial assets.