Centrale shopping centre to change hands

Centrale Shopping Centre Photo: Neil Clifton

The sale of Centrale shopping centre, which is currently owned by a Kuwaiti company, could be finalised within days, according to new reports this week.

Centrale, in North End, Croydon, could be sold to Hammerson, a UK-based real estate company as part of a deal for six retail developments across the country. The deal is reported to be worth approximately £250 million.

St Martin’s, the State of Kuwait’s property investment organisation, is in talks with Hammerson, with a view to the possible completion of the purchase within the next week.

The other developments in the deal are Monument Mall in Newcastle upon Tyne, Lichfield’s Three Spires, and Cathedral Lanes in Coventry. The deal also includes retail parks in Folkestone and Rugby.

St Martin’s is selling the property as part of a £900 million sell-up nicknamed ‘Project Blue’. The company is using the project to consolidate its European assets, and begin investments in landmark buildings.

Centrale shopping centre is one of the largest in London, comprising over 800,000 sq ft of commercial floor space. It opened in 2004, having replaced the much smaller Drummond Centre.

Hammerson has attracted attention in the financial markets for its high profile buy-ups. In August 2009, the company paid £175 million in a joint venture with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for the long leasehold interest in 10 Gresham Street, plus £8 million of acquisition costs.

The company is in a position to buy the Centrale shopping centre, having sold the Bishops Square office building in the City to JP Morgan Assets Management for over £550 million last month.

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