Rockspring, ECE sell Czech Rep’s largest mall for €374m

The London-based real estate fund manager and the Hamburg-based real estate investment manager have sold the Olympia Shopping Centre to Deutsche Euroshop, making it one of the most expensive CEE retail assets ever.

Rockspring Property Investment Managers, the London-based real estate fund manager, and ECE Real Estate Partners, the Hamburg-based real estate investment manager, have sold the Czech Republic’s largest mall, Olympia Shopping Centre, for €374 million.

Rockspring, acting on behalf of a separate account mandate, and ECE, using capital from its 2011-vintage ECE European Prime Shopping Centre fund, acquired the asset in 2011 in a 50:50 joint venture. Following the purchase, the JV made a number of improvements including complete renovation, bringing in new tenants and signing new leases with existing tenants. ECE has managed the shopping center since 2011 and will remain responsible for the management and leasing after the sale.

The buyer was Deutsche Euroshop, a German-based real estate investment company headquartered in Hamburg. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange-listed firm is the largest investor in shopping centers in Germany.

The Olympia Shopping Centre, in the Czech city of Brno, has a total lettable area of 855,000 square feet and more than 200 retail units. The price of €374 million is thought to be one of the highest achieved for a shopping mall in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region.

Michael Pryer, partner and fund manager at Rockspring said: “This sale is the result of the successful asset management program implemented by an expert team within the JV, who delivered a core shopping center product and, in turn, strong investment returns for our investors.”

“This successful sale shows that the strategy of the ECE funds, investing in existing shopping centers and realizing their value-added potential, can be effectively implemented together with the ECE team on site,” said Volker Kraft, managing director of the ECE.

Rockspring said the sale attracted bids from a range of international investors and the deal is expected to be completed by the end of March.

Rockspring’s most recent retail transaction took place in November when it acquired a 660,000 square foot shopping center in Magdeburg, in eastern Germany, for €117 million in an off-market deal on behalf of its Trans-European Partners (TEP) VI real estate fund.

In July, the firm held a final close for TEP VI after garnering €430 million, a company record, from around seven international institutional investors. The firm had originally targeted €400 million for the fund, which had a hard cap of €500 million.