CPPIB and Hammerson JV for £335m UK retail center

The Canadian pension plan and the FTSE 100 retail REIT have teamed-up to become 50:50 owners of the Grand Central shopping center in Birmingham.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has partnered with London-listed retail property REIT Hammerson to become joint owners of the Grand Central shopping center in Birmingham, UK.

Hammerson completed the £335 million (€432 million; $487 million) acquisition of the retail asset while simultaneously announcing it had sold down half of its interest to the Canadian pension giant.

The pair will be 50:50 co-owners of the property, but Hammerson will act as the shopping center’s asset manager.

Grand Central opened in September 2015 and provides 435,000 square foot of retail space, anchored by a 250,000 square foot John Lewis department store.

It was developed by Network Rail and Birmingham City Council as part of the £750 million regeneration project of the city’s New Street Station area.

CPPIB has been a big backer of UK property of late, investing nearly £1.5 billion in student housing in 2015.

In March, CPPIB completed the acquisition of Liberty Living, one of the UK’s largest student accommodation providers, for £1.1 billion. The pension plan manager then added another UK portfolio for £330 million in August.

Headquartered in Toronto, CPPIB managed C$272.9 billion (€181.4 billion; $196.5 billion) in assets as of September 30, including C$34.3 billion in real estate investments.