Northern Ireland

Damolly retail park in Newry sold for £28.4m

Image caption B&Q is one of the tenants of the Damolly retail park

The owners of the Damolly retail park in Newry have sold it to a London-based property company for £28.4m.

It was owned by Corbo, a firm controlled by Ballymena developer Sam Morrison, who bought the retail park for a reported £35m in 2005.

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

The new owner is Metric Property Investments.

Metric is run 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."

The deal is one of the biggest in Northern Ireland in recent years following a near-freeze in the commercial property market due to the recession.

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."

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