Aviva Investors has bought the first phase of Consolidated Property Group’s Handforth Dean Shopping Park scheme for £15.8m.
The sale includes a flagship Next Home store, a conservatory, a garden centre, coffee shop and car parking. It opened to the public in November 2016.
Andrew Coles, asset manager at Aviva Investors, said: “This acquisition is an example of Aviva Investors repositioning a portfolio; divesting out of smaller secondary retail assets and investing in a larger, high quality retail asset.
“The investment follows Aviva Investors’ purchase earlier in the year of the nearby Altitude at Atlas Business Park, and highlights our focus on clustering ownership of assets in our target locations.”
CPG group managing director Martin Ridgway said: “This is a very significant vote of confidence in the Handforth Dean Shopping Park and the wider area. It demonstrates the potential the city institutions place on the scheme and its financial viability.
“Obviously the second and third phases have yet to receive planning permission but if they do I would envisage these phases being of similar interest to investors. The final scheme will involve approximately 25 retail units and create about 950 jobs.”
Aviva Investors was advised by Nightingale Partners and Curson Sowerby, while CPG was advised by Savills and JLL.
Alderley Edge developer CPG was named as Cheshire East’s preferred developer for the site in February 2015. Proposals for phases two and three, along with an application to convert the garden centre into further retail space, are to be considered by Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board on 24 May.
Seeking to assess cumulative impact, the same meeting will consider the plans by Orbit Developments to expand its own Handforth Dean scheme.
CPG’s proposal comprises 240,000 sq ft of retail, four restaurants and three cafes, and was recommended for refusal by planning officers in April. Orbit’s scheme involves the demolition of offices and warehousing to make way for seven retail units. Rejected in February 2016, Orbit appealed and a public inquiry is to begin in June.