April 19 2015 Latest news:
Monday, June 9, 2014
Norwich’s Anglia Square shopping centre was snapped up by its new owners for just over £7.5m – a dramatic drop on the £36m price tag it commanded less than a decade ago.
It was revealed last month that the shopping centre had been bought by international investment manager Threadneedle Investments, ending months of speculation.
At that time, the new owners were tight-lipped about what they had paid for the centre, but the figure has been revealed by BTWShiells, which brokered the purchase on behalf of Threadneedle.
They revealed the centre had been bought for £7.55m - a drastic drop on the £36m the centre changed hands for just eight years ago.
At that time, Northern Irish group Lagmar Properties made a £12m profit in little over a year, having bought the centre for £24m in 2005.
Paddy Brennan, investment director for BTWShiells, said of the latest deal: “Anglia Square is a well established district shopping destination with an extremely loyal customer base.
“The scheme provides for numerous value-add asset management opportunities with major redevelopment potential. We are looking forward to working with Threadneedle on this project.”
The new owners insist they are committed to the square’s success and say they will be reviewing investment opportunities to attract more businesses and shoppers.
However, it is understood planning permission secured for the square on behalf of its previous owners is unlikely to be pursued.
Those plans, agreed by Norwich City Council, were for 174 new homes, a public square, new shops, restaurants, cafes and a healthcare centre, while Gildengate House, the office block over the entrance to the car park, would have been updated to provide modern offices. The plans also included a 7,792 square metre foodstore.
But the new owners look likely to come up with their own vision for the square’s future and are promising to consult businesses, local people and stakeholders.
While the mood among businesses at the square is positive, Stuart McLaren, secretary of the St Augustine’s Community Together Residents’ Association injected a note of caution.
He said: “On the whole the local community welcomes the fact that the long hiatus between planning consent in 2011 and now has at last been ended.
“Everyone wants to know what the new owner’s plans are for the square, especially, the derelict Sovereign House and the closed multi-storey car park, which dominate the skyline and are looking very run down.
“But given how comparatively cheaply they have bought it is there any incentive for them to demolish these structures in the near future if the market isn’t yet strong enough to attract investors to the building of something new there?
“The cheaper option of just smartening up the existing ground level retails units and pedestrian areas will not necessarily make the square a very much more attractive place to shop while these derelict buildings still dominate.
“The fear is that the new owners saw £7.55m as a bargain price to pay for the increased rents they think they can attract by spending a bit on smart new shopfronts and upgrading the fixtures and fittings here and there.”
What would you like to see happen at Anglia Square? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email firstname.lastname@example.org