July 21, 2016
Property developer and investor Opus North has enjoyed a stellar year following the acquisition of three assets in a sale and leaseback deal worth £90m 12 months ago.
The purchase comprised two major supermarkets and shopping centres in Hunslet and Sheffield, leased to WM Morrison and a further shopping centre in Widnes.
Altogether, apart from the two supermarkets, the portfolio consisted of a total of 86 units, including shops and offices.
Overall Opus North has subsequently completed 20 new lease and lease renewal deals.
These featured eight at the Penny Hill Centre in Hunslet, including Brighthouse and Well Pharmacy; nine at the Green Oaks Shopping Centre, Widnes, including Roman Originals, Crawshaws Butchers and Halifax Bank; and three at Hillsborough Barracks in Sheffield, including letting a refurbished office suite to Castle Owen Property Consultants.
Robb Smillie of Opus North said: “It has been a tremendous year in the wake of this major deal. On top of the 20 new leases, there are a further eight deals in the hands of lawyers, which are due to complete shortly. These include household retail names at both Widnes and Hunslet.
“The new deals mean that ten per cent has been added to the overall passing rents, while several planning consents and refurbishment works have been completed, including consent granted for a new 10,000 sq ft retail unit at Hunslet and planning granted and works completed to convert a trolley store into a new retail unit at Hillsborough.
“At Widnes, we have refurbished 3738 sq ft of retail space, which had been vacant since JJB entered administration in 2012, and have subsequently agreed the letting of the unit” said Mr Smillie.
Palmer Capital, the London-based real estate investment manager and minority shareholder in Opus North, provided funding for the original deal from Palmer Capital Development Fund 3, its £150m joint venture with CBRE Global Investment Partners.
Opus North managing director Andrew Duncan said: “This has proved to be a very exciting opportunity for us and has allowed us to strengthen our asset management role, alongside out extensive development pipeline.
“We are maximising the potential of the portfolio and believe that the return of confidence to the commercial property market in Yorkshire and the North West, despite the challenges posed by Brexit, will present us with a number of excellent opportunities, which we look forward to taking.”
Author: Rachel Covill, The Business Desk