Multi-million pound sale of Newry retail park

June 22, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

Damolly Retail Park on the outskirts of Newry has been sold by its owners for £28.4m.

The deal is believed to be one of the biggest in recent years following a slump in the commercial property market due to the recession.

Corbo – a firm controlled by Ballymena developer Sam Morrison – bought the park for a reported £35m in 2005.  The new owner is a London-based property company Metric Property Investments.

The sale also includes a nearby site with planning permission for which Corbo will receive up to an additional £6.5m when that development is let.

Metric is operated by three former executives from property giant, British Land.

They set the company up with the aim of buying shopping centres which have become more affordable in the property crash with the view to improving them and selling on at a profit.

Andrew Jones, Chief Executive of Metric, said: “This acquisition satisfies the key investment criteria we set out of acquiring well-let retail investments off low rents and where our retail customers trade successfully.

“The park is let off low rents to a high quality line-up of tenants where we believe that we can extract further value by using our core asset management skills to increase income, develop out the vacant land as well as look to widen the existing planning consent and further improve the tenant mix.”

Stephen Kirkpatrick, Chief Executive of Corbo, said the deal forms part of the company’s growth strategy.

“This disposal forms part of Corbo’s strategy of pursuing growth opportunities from both within and outside its retail focused property portfolio.”

High profile tenants of Damolly Retail Park include B&Q, Halfords, Currys and McDonalds.