Belle Vale Shopping Centre
Belle Vale is one of two shopping centres to be sold at auction by BidX1

Regional malls go under the hammer

Neil Tague

Two North West shopping centres are to be auctioned by BidX1 next week, with Liverpool’s Belle Vale centre and the Port Arcades in Ellesmere Port guided at £4.6m and £3m respectively.

Both centres went into administration in 2017, victims of a legal tussle between owner Frogmore and its lender Nationwide.

Frogmore, which had bought the pair along with a third mall in Bristol in 2006 in a £100m-plus deal, launched a legal action against the building society when it tried to sell the loans on to Cerberus as part of a larger portfolio, with Frogmore claiming a breach of contract and disputing the valuation of the assets. Moorfields Advisory was appointed administrator in February 2017 on the three retail holdings.

The centres are to be auctioned on 29 September. Belle Vale Shopping Centre’s guide price reflects a capital value of £15.37 per sq ft. The centre comprises 302,831 sq ft, with 67 units. It is 83% let y floor area, with tenants including Wilko, B&M, Argos, McDonald’s, New Look, Greggs and Poundland. Passing rental income is £1.8m per year, with a net operating income of just more than £1m per year.

The Port Arcades’ guide price of £3m reflects a capital value of £8.76 per sq ft. Tenants include EE, Iceland Food Warehouse, Wilko, Peacocks, Specsavers, Sayers, Wok & Go, and Boots in what is currently a 54-strong tensnt roster, according to the centre’s store list.

BidX1 said that the 326,217 sq ft mall offers “significant asset management potential”. The centre is currently generating a gross annual income of £1.6m.

Covid-19 and the resulting restrictions on movement have had a catastrophic effect on an already-blighted retail sector, with a string of brands drastically cutting back store numbers and centre operators such as Intu calling in administrators.

Savills is advising Moorfields. Toby Ogilvie Smals, director in the consultancy’s investment team, said: “The attractive pricing combined with the income and the size of the properties has meant that we have received good interest in the assets.”

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