Partners from professional services firm EY have been appointed as administrators to the 280,000 sq ft shopping centre owned by private equity firm InfraRed Capital Partners and others.
The administration came after InfraRed, which owns St George’s Shopping Centre in Preston together with its investors, defaulted on a loan secured against the asset.
InfraRed bought the shopping centre through its Active Fund III from Aviva Investors for £73m in 2015, as part of a clutch of shopping centre acquisitions during that time. The purchase of St George’s was supported through a loan from US-based lender Wells Fargo.
However, the challenging retail climate, compounded by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, have hit shopping centres hard, with many facing administration or receivership. Across the UK, nine malls have gone into administration in the past four months, while the UK’s largest mall owner, Intu Properties, went into administration last June.
InfraRed declined to comment on the administration. Alex Williams, joint administrator at EY, said: “The administration of the partnership and the companies will have no operational impact on St George’s Shopping Centre, which continues to trade in compliance with Government Covid regulations on a business-as-usual basis.”
In 2019, InfraRed secured two lettings at St George’s – restaurant operators Mowgli and The Botanist – as part of its plans to build a 28,000 sq ft food & beverage quarter at the shopping centre. It is understood this expansion project has not been completed amid the pandemic.