Chorley-based FI Real Estate Management is to provide asset, property and facilities management at 31 sites that made up the freehold and long leasehold portfolio of Toys R Us, with Cushman & Wakefield and Morgan Williams appointed as sales and marketing agents.
Two of the assets are in the North West: the store at Gemini Retail Park, Warrington, which closed its doors on 24 April, and the Liverpool store on Paisley Street, close to the waterfront, which has also now ceased trading.
Now named the Duke portfolio, the UK-wide collection of assets comprises 1.9m sq ft of retail space and was put into ‘special servicing’ with integrated loan servicing and advisory firm Solutus following Toys R Us UK entering administration with Moorfields Advisory in February.
The portfolio is owned by Toys R Us Properties (UK) Ltd which currently has secured debt of £263m, however the distressed portfolio specialist has recognised its potential appeal to out of town retail operators and as possible development locations.
Tim Knowles, managing director of FI Real Estate Management, said: “We have welcomed the opportunity and challenge of fully managing this portfolio. We have agreed a business plan that allows us to preserve and unlock value without the need to make pressured decisions.
“There is still life in the UK retail market where there are many high quality retailers wanting to expand their portfolio into these prime sites.”
FIREM has been active across both its asset management business and on its own development projects over the last year, securing planning consent at the Winnington Business Park site in Cheshire earlier this year and unveiling an ambitious mixed-use scheme around its Botany Bay headquarters last summer.