Clarendon want Wilton

The Wilton Shopping Centre purchase pairing (as part of the Hazel Portfolio sale) of Irish property development and investment company Clarendon Properties, with US-based York Capital Management, bodes well for Wilton’s future, say market observers.

Clarendon want Wilton

In yet another example of US capital allying itself to Irish real estate/retail expertise and local knowledge, it’s emerged that York Capital and Clarendon are preferred bidders, with a period of exclusivity on negotiation on the €130 million Hazel Portfolio.

The deal now progressing pushes the sale of Irish retail investments to well over €1 billion in the past two years, mostly through portfolio/loan sales.

And, that significant sum excludes the €1.85 billion paid for the Dundrum Shopping Centre by J/V partners Hammerson and Allianz, who bought Nama’s Project Jewel, which also included part of the ILAC Centre and Swords Shopping Centre.

Already in Cork, Clarendon has for many years controlled the Savoy Shopping Centre and the Queens Old Castle in the city centre, and also owns Courthouse Chambers (primarily legal offices) on Washington Street.

Headed by Tony Leonard and Paddy McKillen, the 30 year old company Clarendon has interests in Ireland, the UK, US (home to 47% of Clarendon’s portfolio) and Germany.

In Cork, Clarendon recently emerged as the buyer of the former Quills shop on Patrick Street, signalling plans to extend the adjacent Savoy Shopping Centre.

Now, its swoop with US funds backing from York Capital puts Wilton’s redevelopment into the frame. Wilton’s reckoned to be the most valuable of the three retail centres in the Hazel Portfolio, with an independent c €70m value, due to its strong income stream of c €9m.

The other centres in Hazel are Drogheda Retail Park, with its €2.5 m rent roll, and Gateway Retail Park in Galway, with a €1.4m rent roll.

Right now, Wilton Shopping Centre is close to fully occupied, and is anchored by Penneys and a Tesco Extra, and Tesco owns its own site. The portion being sold extends to 107,000 sq ft, and that excludes the giant Tesco Extra outlet. Other tenant include New Look,Sketchers, Lifestyle Sports, Boots and Easons.

Wilton was developed in the 1970s by Clayton Love Jnr, and owners have since included IPFUT, Tesco, and Joe O’Donovan, who bought in the mid 2000s jointly with Howard Holdings for a reported €124m, before Joe O’Donovan bought out Howard Holdings.

It’s being sold now for Nama, via agents Bannon and DTZ who put it formally to market in mid-September after a long lead-in sale expectations. Coincidentally Cork DTZ’s Frank Ryan has had a hand in each sale instruction in the Wilton Centre’s history.

Also, currently DTZ is handling the sale of 25 development sites amassed by Tesco for new stores or expansion, in 16 counties nationwide.

That Tesco sell-off includes five Cork sites, one being 2.5 acres at the Wilton Shopping Centre, worth c €1 million per acre and likely now to be of interest to Wilton’s ‘preferred bidders’ Clarendon/York.

Marking further significant changes in the ownership of Cork’s major retail centres, the pending sale of Wilton Shopping Centre to York/Clarendon follows on the sales earlier, in 2014, of the Clayton Love/Shipton-developed Blackpool Shopping Centre and Douglas Court, sold as part of separate portfolio offers, the €170m Project Acorn (including Blackpool) acquired by Varde Partnership, and the €135 Project Spectrum, also bought by Varde and which included Douglas Court.

DETAILS: Bannon 01-6477900 DTZ Sherry FitzGerald 01-6399300; 021-4275454

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