Two of Northern Ireland's biggest retail parks - Junction One and The Outlet - have gone on the market with an overall guide price of around £60m. This latest major Northern Ireland property sell-off was revealed as part of a commercial property report by CBRE.
A massive retail site located just outside Antrim, Junction One was first set up in 2004, boasting a range of big names, but in the latest set of published accounts for Junction One Ltd, it was valued at less than £8m. That's around a tenth of its value back in 2009.
Speaking about the sale, Leona Barr, centre manager for Junction One, said it welcomes the sale "as it brings great potential for future development and continued investment". She said "core tenants" such as Marks & Spencer, Next and Adidas had recently extended their leases.
Businesses at Junction One employ more than 1,000 staff.
"We believe that the time is right for new owners to build on the success already achieved and to input additional investment to enable the complex to reach its full potential," Ms Barr said.
Junction One is being sold by the borrower with consent from Ulster Bank, along with administrators who are representing previous shareholders.
The Outlet park was opened in 2007 at a cost of £70m. It counts a number of big name brands among its tenants, including Marks & Spencer, Gap Outlet and DKNY Jeans.
The Outlet is owned by West Register, a firm set up by Ulster Bank's parent company RBS to manage its distressed property assets following the financial crisis.
The company which controls the business in Northern Ireland, West Register (Northern Ireland) Property Limited, posted losses of more than £4m in 2013.
No one from The Outlet was available for comment.
Brian Lavery, managing director of CBRE Belfast, told the Belfast Telegraph that while the past two months have been "relatively quiet" for commercial property, he expected to see a surge at the end of this year. "Year end, there is money to be placed in the larger markets, whether American or funds - they buy at year end," he said.
And going forward Mr Lavery said while he saw the market as "relatively buoyant" it continues to be dependent "on large outside market influences".
Meanwhile, Belfast city centre's CastleCourt is set to see a raft of new stores soon, including Schuh Kids and Yours Clothing.
Article by Belfast Telegraph