Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Westgate Centre Oxford sold to Crown Estate and Land Securities

The Crown Estate bought the Westgate Centre in Oxford today for around £56m at a net initial yield of 6.75%.  Half of the centre was simultaneously sold to Land Securities as The Crown Estate once again looked to work with their rival on a shopping centre project.

More details about the Westgate Centre in Oxford.

The Crown Estate press release read:

"The Crown Estate has today completed the purchase of the 30,000 sq m (320,000 sq ft) Westgate shopping centre in Oxford.

The transaction sees The Crown Estate take ownership of the Westgate Centre for circa £56 million at a net initial yield of around 6.75 per cent. It forms part of our strategy to diversify our urban property portfolio and reduce our central London weighting by investing in key regional locations. In the last twelve months the strategy has seen The Crown Estate complete close to £600 million of property transactions.
We have also established a 50:50 joint venture partnership with Land Securities Group PLC at the Westgate Centre. This follows the recent partnership at Princesshay Shopping Centre, Exeter, which saw us purchase a 50 per cent stake in the scheme.
The partnership will seek to enhance the shopping experience at Westgate, the existing retail mix at the Westgate Centre and assess prospects for a commercially viable development proposal to ensure the Westgate Centre meets the needs of Oxford’s residents, shoppers and businesses alike.
James Cooksey, head of diversification and central London portfolios at The Crown Estate said: “We are excited about this major purchase and look forward to taking a long-term approach to asset management and stewardship of this important city centre scheme.
“Westgate has the potential to significantly enhance Oxford city centre’s retail landscape and our commercial expertise and investment track record will help realise that potential. We are keen to work closely in the future with key stakeholders including the City and County Councils, along with prospective retailers, in particular the John Lewis Partnership.”
John Lewis Property Director, Jeremy Collins, said: “This is positive news for the Oxford City Centre and we look forward to working closely with the partnership and the council to bring our John Lewis department store to fruition."
On behalf of the nation, we manage a highly diverse £6 billion property portfolio across the UK and its objectives, as laid down by Parliament under The Crown Estate Act 1961, include enhancing the value of the estate and the revenue it produces. In delivering against these objectives, we have committed to a strategy of diversifying our commercial property holdings away from central London by acquiring key assets in major city centre locations, including shopping centres and retail parks. The purchase of the Westgate Shopping Centre forms an important part of this strategy and follows the purchase in December 2009 of a 50 per cent stake in the 50,000 sq m (530,000 sq ft) Princesshay Shopping Centre in Exeter, our first joint venture arrangement with Land Securities Group PLC."

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