The Corn Exchange dates back to 1903. Credit: Place North West

Aviva offloads Manchester’s Corn Exchange 

A private investor from the Middle East has acquired the leisure asset from Aviva for around £43m. 

Aviva put the Corn Exchange on the market last May for £24m less than what it paid for it in 2005, with joint agents KLM Real Estate and JLL seeking offers of more than £42.85m.  

Aviva fund Norwich Property Trust bought the property from Blackstone Group and Milligan Retail Resorts for £67m.  

At the time, the Corn Exchange was a shopping centre with more than 190,000 sq ft of retail space and was known as The Triangle. 

A £30m redevelopment of the grade two-listed building, led by Queensberry Real Estate, began in 2015 and completed in 2017.

The project saw the former retail destination converted into a dining hub featuring a 117-bedroom Roomzzz aparthotel. 

At present, the Corn Exchange is let to occupiers including Cosy Club, Mowgli, Pizza Express, Tampopo, and Sixes. 

Cooper Rose acted for the buyer, an unnamed investor from the Middle East. 

The deal was made possible thanks to a £45m loan provided by Cohort Capital, brokered by Westfort Advisors.

Matt Thame, founder of Cohort Capital, said: “With this deal, we were able to deliver with certainty and speed – which in the current market goes a long way, especially with acquisition opportunities which have real deadlines attached.”

Corn Exchange is 93% let, with 18 leases providing a net operating income of around £2.9m per year. The WAULT to expiry for the leases is 16.9 years.

The buyer declined to comment and Aviva was approached for comment. 

Will Andrews, director at KLM, said: “Aviva’s asset enhancement and placemaking at the scheme over many years created this jewel of a leisure asset.

“As a result, we were able to generate strong investor demand despite the headwinds that the leisure market and consumers are facing at the moment.”

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