InfraRed to buy Liverpool shopping centre

The spinout from HSBC has exchanged contracts to buy the St Johns Centre in Liverpool from London-listed Land Securities in a deal reportedly valued at £76.5 million. The deal was struck on behalf of the InfraRed European Active Real Estate Fund.

InfraRed Capital Partners, the real estate and infrastructure investment management business spun out from HSBC  last year, has acquired a shopping centre in Liverpool from London-listed property company Land Securities.

InfraRed announced today it had exchanged contracts to buy the St Johns Centre, a 413,000-square-foot shopping centre with a 149-room hotel in the centre of the northern England city for approximately £76.5 million (€91.6 million; $121.2 million). The centre is let to tenants that include Argos, New Look, Wilkinson, Poundland and JJB Sports.

InfraRed bought the shopping centre for its 2008 vintage InfraRed European Active Real Estate Fund, for which it raised approximately €400 million. PERE understands that more than €300 million of the capital has now been deployed. The fund has a value-added strategy and is seeking opportunities where it can reposition an asset via areas such as letting out vacant space, re-gearing its rent, refurbishment and extra development. It ultimately is expected to contain 15 investments across the UK and Continental and Eastern Europe.

Chris Huxtable, director at InfraRed Capital Partners, said: “Value-added shopping centre investment is a core competence of InfraRed, hence we are very enthusiastic and excited about investing into the St Johns Centre. We see many UK retailers consolidating their footprint into centres that combine high footfall with affordable rents and adequate store sizes. The St John’s centre has the capacity to offer all these features, and we intend to capitalise on this with substantial new investment.”

For its part, Land Securities said the sale would enable it to “recycle” the capital into its own investment strategy. Richard Akers, managing director of the firm’s retail division, said: “We recently have completed a number of asset management initiatives at St Johns that have successfully positioned it as a value-based centre in the heart of Liverpool. The sale will allow us to recycle the capital into other opportunities.”