Preston St George's
The centre was to undergo a 28,000 sq ft restaurant extension

Preston’s St George’s falls into administration

David Thame and Place Newsdesk

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.

 

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Probably the first one, with a lot more to go – no one can be locked down and be expected come out a winning. COVID?

By Peter O’Donoghue

Such a crying shame St. George’s is one of Preston’s favourite. I was born in Preston and lived here all my life and have seen so many changes not always for the best. A lot of it comes down to money. I’ve worked in St. George’s for quite a few years and remember how busy it was now all we see are empty shops because of the cost of the lease. I want to see the centre busy as many people do. Just give people a chance to get on the retail ladder and lower your lease costs.

By Sue moss

A difficult time for Preston’s shopping centres with the impact of closures such as Top Shop coming through, also the Fishergate Shopping Centre anchored by a large Debenhams. I would expect the most likely purchaser to be Preston City Council who can hopefully bring an integrated redevelopment plan forward for the whole city centre which was heavily impacted by the abandonment on the Preston Tithebarn redevelopment.

By Dom

All this is down to the government not doing what we pay them to do. They are killing our country and our communities – we have lost Debenhams, now St George’s, thousands of people have lost their jobs.

By Kathleen curran

It had been looking shabby for a while, but much better than the old mills that stood there in the early 80s. Lets hope the project can be restarted with government help, the picture looks a winner if it can get on tails after lockdown

By Dave