GIC makes UK leisure play

The Singaporean sovereign wealth fund has invested £48.5m in a 50% stake of the newly-opened Watermark leisure and dining development.

GIC Real Estate is making further strides into the UK with a £48.5 million ($59.6 million; €56.9 million)investment in a Southampton leisure and dining facility.

The Singaporean sovereign wealth fund has taken a 50 percent stake in Watermark, the newly-opened 183,000 square foot development, from London-listed retail property specialist Hammerson.

GIC and Hammerson were already joint venture partners on the adjacent Westquay shopping center and the partnership’s tenure has now been extended and Hammerson will receive a fee from the JV for the ongoing asset management of the combined center.

The Watermark development, which opened in December, brings the total retail and leisure space at Westquay to over 1 million square foot. When fully leased the scheme will provide stabilized annual income of £5.5 million. It is is currently 95 percent let, with more than 20 restaurants including Five Guys, Bills, Cau, Franco Manca, Byron, Nando’s, Casa Brasil, Cosmo and Red Dog Saloon. The leisure offer also includes Hollywood Bowl and a 10-screen Showcase Cinema de Lux which will open in February 2017.

“As a long-term investor, we focus on ensuring that income streams from our investments are stable and resilient. To remain competitive in an age of e-commerce, retail destinations need to offer attractive consumer leisure experiences to boost footfall and customer retention,” commented Madeleine Cosgrave, regional head, Europe, GIC Real Estate.

“We believe Watermark’s diverse tenant mix and offerings will provide these experiences and enable Westquay, which is already a prime regional mall, to continue generating good returns over the long term.”

GIC is the global investment management company established in 1981 to manage Singapore's foreign reserves. It has a network of eight overseas offices in key financial capitals around the world. GIC invests internationally in equities, fixed income, money market instruments, real estate and special investments including private equity.