Columbus Capital buys ‘devalued’ Metquarter

Columbus UK Real Estate Fund, advised by Columbus Capital Management LLP, has paid £21m to buy the Liverpool retail centre once worth £90m from Irish investors.

The deal represents a triple net initial yield of 8.5% and a capital value £154/sq ft. Royal Bank of Scotland provided senior debt to fund the acquisition.

The 136,000 sq ft centre was developed by Milligan and opened in 2006. It was sold a year later for £90m to Anglo Irish Bank Private Banking and Alanis Capital.

Tenants include Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, LK Bennett, Jo Malone, MAC, Carluccio, Kurt Geiger, Links of London, Paperchase, TM Lewin, Gieves & Hawkes, Timberland, Vidal Sassoon, Tommy Hilfiger, Diesel, Patisserie Valerie, All Saints and Jack Wills.

Joe Froud, managing partner of Columbus Capital Management, said: "Liverpool is a strong retail city but the delivery of Liverpool One, coinciding as it did with the recession, created conditions that weakened the Metquarter. Now that Liverpool One is established and fully let we are confident that our repositioning strategy, together with significant financing to deliver it, will re-establish the Metquarter as the city's premium retail destination."

Suzanne Avery, managing director real estate and sustainability, Royal Bank of Scotland Real Estate, said: "We have known the Columbus management team for many years and are delighted to assist them on this acquisition. Liverpool is a strong retail centre and Joe and his team have the experience to successfully reposition the asset and capitalise on this opportunity."

Lunson Mitchenall and Insite Asset Management advised Columbus Capital Management on the acquisitions whilst Savills acted for the vendors.

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