Plans advanced to sell Wilton Shopping Centre

Plans are being advanced for the sale of the Wilton Shopping Centre in Cork, at an expected €85m-€90m guide, after conditional planning permission for a €100m redevelopment to include a multi-screen cinema and 190-bed hotel was granted by Cork City Council within the last week.

Plans advanced to sell Wilton Shopping Centre

By Tommy Barker

Plans are being advanced for the sale of the Wilton Shopping Centre in Cork, at an expected €85m-€90m guide, after conditional planning permission for a €100m redevelopment to include a multi-screen cinema and 190-bed hotel was granted by Cork City Council within the last week.

Given the centre’s potential and redevelopment prospects, it’s likely to be bought by a developer who’ll take on the major reordering of the 30-year old retail centre in the western suburbs next to the CUH, rather than being acquired by an investment entity.

Well-placed property sources say the decision to offer the Wilton Centre back for sale was taken by current owners Montlake QIAIF Platform ICAV, with the majority 90% shareholding owned by York Property Fund, with Irish firm Clarendon a minority shareholder. Clarendon Properties is increasingly active in Cork on the development front as well as holding a number of considerable long-term investments in Cork.

Montlake/York/Clarendon acquired the Wilton Centre in 2015 as part of a portfolio purchase, Project Hazel, which at the time was reported to have valued Wilton at over €70m, and with an income of €9m a year. Previous owners included IPUT, Howard Holdings/Joe O’Donovan, and Clayton Love Jr.

Redevelopment plans lodged in January 2017 included a new, giant two-storey Penneys store, a 190-bed hotel serving the CUH and western suburbs, a 14-screen cinema, plaza, multi-level car park with 875 spaces and a number of new retail “big boxes”.

The centre’s existing malls will be retained, and the Tesco Extra superstore (enlarged in 2003) is unaffected, in separate ownership.

The Wilton Centre was developed in 1979 by the Love family, and has 60 traders, and adjoins major sites such as the SMA and ESB, with renewed speculation of further sales and development in this city segment along the south city ring road.

Meanwhile, still for sale after more than a year on the investment market is the Blackpool Shopping Centre, Cork, also developed by Clayton Love Jr, launched over a year ago with a €117m price guide via agents JLL and HWBC for owners Varde Partnership, with a rent roll of €7.38m.

Sources say agents Savills are expected to handle the Wilton Centre sale, with a sum over €90m to be sought, and this week Savills also launched the B&Q-anchored 12-year old City East Retail Park in Limerick, at a €28m guide, with a €2.3m rent roll with uplift potential.

Details: Savills 01-6181300/021-4271371

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