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NewRiver in the press

Property Week: NewRiver wins management of Canterbury’s Whitefriars Shopping Centre - 19 September 2018

19 September 2018

NewRiver wins management of Canterbury’s Whitefriars Shopping Centre

NewRiver has signed an asset management agreement with Canterbury City Council to manage Whitefriars Shopping Centre.

This agreement is the first to be signed by the group since it announced in May 2018 its longer-term strategies to adapt to the changing retail real estate market. The agreement will initially be for two years, with the option of a roll on for a further two years subject to the agreement of both parties. The retail property company will not acquire an equity stake in the centre as part of the agreement.

Allan Lockhart, chief executive of NewRiver said: “NewRiver’s selection by the council in a competitive tender process demonstrates that our strong relationships with retailers and track record of successful asset management makes us the clear choice for third-party retail asset owners. Against a growing trend of local authorities purchasing shopping centre assets and taking control of their town centres, NewRiver is ideally positioned to provide best-in-class asset management expertise to them, delivering thriving assets for local communities and sustainable, long-term revenue for our shareholders.”

Whitefriars Shopping Centre is a regional shopping centre in east Kent, located in Canterbury, with a catchment of 270,000 people within a 30 minute drive and annual footfall of 13m. It has 75 units across 474,000 sq ft and 530 car parking spaces, and is anchored by Fenwicks, Marks & Spencer, Next and Primark. The shopping centre has been fully owned by the council since February 2018, when it purchased the remaining 50% of the asset from its 50:50 joint venture with TH Real Estate for £75m, equating to a net initial yield of 6.5%. The joint venture was formed in 2016, when the council paid £79m for its initial 50%, equating to a net initial yield of 6.0%.

Colin Carmichael, chief executive of Canterbury City Council added: “Our purchase of Whitefriars Shopping Centre in February 2018 was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take control of one our city’s key sites and ensure it works for the benefit of the community. The council is very pleased to be partnering with one of the UK’s leading retail asset managers in NewRiver to realise this ambition. Their passion and expertise give the council the confidence that Whitefriars will continue to go from strength to strength.”