Capital & Regional looks at Great Northern options

Capital & Regional has announced it is looking at options to redevelop and reconfigure the Great Northern Victorian warehouse in Manchester.

CapReg is co-owner with Aviva Investors and asset manager for the Junction fund, with a 13.4% stake in the fund, which has the Great Northern among its assets.

CapReg made the announcement within its interim results for the six months to 30 June 2011.

Speaking about the Great Northern warehouse, Hugh Scott-Barrett, chief executive of Capital & Regional, said: "Various reconfiguration opportunities are being explored, involving re-gearing leases to release and re-let up to 75,000 sq ft of existing space, improving the vitality and longer term investment performance of this property. Alternative options to substantially redevelop and add space are also being progressed in parallel, since tenant demand has indicated a potential development opportunity."

Principle occupiers at the Great Northern include AMC Cinemas and gym operator Virgin Active.

CapReg did hold talks in 2009 about the selling the property to Manchester City Council for £75m but the deal fell through.

On Tuesday morning, CapReg announced a 21% increase in pre-tax profit to £8.8m in the first half of 2011.

The company said net assets per share had increased 12% to £0.56 in the six months to 30 June.

CapReg said its value of property under management had fallen to £2.7bn in June this year, compared to £2.9bn in June 2010.

CapReg is also the co-owner and asset manager of the Mall Fund, with a 16.7% stake in the fund, which includes the Mall Blackburn among its 11 shopping centres.

CapReg said there remains an encouraging pipeline of new letting opportunities for The Mall Fund in 2011.

CapReg added that market conditions will continue to drive the pace of letting activity in the second half of the year, which may slow if the current challenging conditions persist for its retailers.

New lettings to Specsavers, JD Sports, Harvey & Thompson and Bet Fred at Blackburn were significant highlights during the first half of the year, CapReg said.

The Mall Fund was valued at £1,096m, reflecting a net initial yield of 7%, in the first half of 2011.

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