Home of Eason and Next in city centre bought for £16.4m
A French asset management firm has bought the home of Eason and Next in Belfast city centre for £16.4m in the biggest retail investment deal so far this year.
The 40-46 Donegall Place address has been purchased by Corrum Asset Management.
Fashion chain Next and bookseller Eason have flagship stores in the building.
It's the firm's first investment and Northern Ireland and its second in the UK.
Corrum Asset Management was launched six years ago and now has 101 properties around Europe.
The deal comes after surveys of the commercial property market earlier this year highlighted a concern over the appetite for foreign investment in the sector.
Philippe Cervesi, investment director at Corum, said: "We are actively looking for high quality investment opportunities in all commercial sectors, including alternative investments.
"The purchase of 40-46 Donegall Place is only our second in the UK and first in Northern Ireland.
"We are committed to sourcing and acquiring other opportunities throughout the UK and Europe."
Nicky Finnieston, investment director at Belfast-based Lisney, which acted on behalf of Corum, said: "We are delighted to have acquired one of Belfast's best retail assets for Corum, in what was a quick and smooth transaction.
"From identifying and agreeing the deal Corum completed within one month.
"We look forward to working with them on other transactions as they expand in our market."
The building is next to Marks & Spencer and River Island.
The deal is the second big investment transaction for Belfast city centre to be announced this week.
In nearby Adelaide Street, a private investor has paid £2.5m for two floors housing gym tenant PureGym.
Speaking earlier this week, Neil McShane of Lambert Smith Hampton said the current economic and political uncertainty had affected supply of potential investment properties on to the market.
"Good quality assets are continuing to trade well but there hasn't been enough of them. However, there has been a flurry of new opportunities in the last few weeks," he said.