Cork’s Blackpool Shopping Centre for sale three years after purchase

Varde Partners originally bought 300,000sq ft Blackpool as part of three-centre package

Blackpool Shopping Centre in Cork: The mixed-use portfolio, which produces an income of €7.38m, is for sale for €117m

Blackpool Shopping Centre in Cork: The mixed-use portfolio, which produces an income of €7.38m, is for sale for €117m

 

One of Munster’s largest retail centres, Blackpool Shopping Centre in Cork, along with the adjoining retail park and self-contained offices, are to be offered for sale on the international market.

John Moran of JLL and Tony Waters of HWBC are guiding in excess of €117 million for the mixed-use portfolio, which is producing a net operating income of €7.38 million. New owners can bank on an initial yield of more than 6 per cent.

Blackpool was bought almost three years ago by US- based investor Varde Partners as part of Project Acorn, which also included Clonmel’s Showgrounds Centre and Balbriggan’s Millfield Shopping Centre. The three properties were reported at the time to have been sold at a combined figure of €170 million – €30 million above the guide price.

Community services

Blackpool is Cork’s dominant northside shopping centre, with about 26,870sq m (300,000sq ft) of retail and retail park space, along with 10,080sq m (108,513sq ft) of offices and up to 1,800 car spaces. The inclusion of a number of community services, including a council library, post office and health board, has enhanced the appeal of the Blackpool complex.

While four retail schemes battle it out for retail spend on the south side of Cork, Blackpool’s catchment of more than 400,000 attracts a wide geographic area to the north and northwest of the city. The Blackpool centre is ranked third in Cork after the city centre and Mahon Point to the south, and achieves market share of more than 40 per cent. The high concentration of international and nationally recognised retailers include Dunnes Stores, New Look, Heaton’s, Next, Aldi and Woodies DIY.

Dunnes owns its own 75,000sq ft anchor store in the shopping centre, trading alongside McDonald’s, Peter Mark, Carphone Warehouse, Claire’s Accessories, Boyle Sports, Sam McCauley’s Pharmacy and Holland & Barrett. The weighted average lease period still available to traders is about 6.13 years.

Varde Partners has funded several improvements in the shopping centre and introduced a number of significant asset management initiatives, among them leasing vacant space and re-gearing a number of leases to help improve overall returns. After completing some of the asset management initiatives, Varde Partners said it had decided to “sell the asset to a lower cost of capital investor who will no doubt continue with the other longer term asset management opportunities”.

The joint selling agents expect the investment to be of interest to a variety of both domestic and international buyers, ranging from core capital to value-added players.