Opus North enjoys stellar success in the wake of £90m sale and leaseback deal

Posted on 27th September 2017

Hillsborough aerial.
Aerial photo showing Hillsborough Shopping Centre in Sheffield

Yorkshire property developers and investors Opus North have enjoyed a stellar year at their 3 shopping centres in Hunslet, Sheffield, and Widnes, which were purchased in a sale and leaseback deal from Morrisons in 2015.
During the past 12 months, Opus North has completed 32 deals and lease renewals across the portfolio.

These include lease renewals to tenants including Rymans, Peacocks, Blueprint Menswear, The Fragrance Shop and Carphone Warehouse at Green Oaks shopping centre in Widnes. New tenants include Pandora and Mangobean Café.

Robb Smillie, retail and leisure specialist with Opus North explained: “This means that the centre is now fully let. We are now undertaking refurbishment work at the centre to create new units to meet occupier demand.

“Meanwhile at Penny Hill, Hunslet, we have completed lease renewals to tenants including Card Factory, Greggs, Fulton Foods and Lloyds Bank, while securing new tenants including St Gemma’s Hospice and Penny Hill Fisheries. We have also relocated the Post Office to a larger unit within the scheme,” he said.

At Hillsborough Barracks, Opus North has refurbished and re-branded the former Sheffield College space into Barracks House, containing 10,000 sq ft of office space and 3,000 sq ft of ground floor retail space.

“We have subsequently let 6,000 sq ft of the office space to Lightworks Design on a 10-year lease, as well as completing a 10-year lease renewal for the Department of Work and Pensions and Job Centre, for their 14,800 sq ft units at Lancer Court and Cavalry Court.

“We have also completed new retail lettings and lease renewals to tenants including Extra Care Charity Trust, JoJo’s Tot Spot Café, Parkgate Mobility and Maxim’s Hairdressers,” he added.

“Overall, it has been a tremendous year. 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,” he added.

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 (PCDF3), its £150m joint venture with CBRE Global Investment Partners (CBRE GIP).

Commenting on the £90 million deal, 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 our 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,” he explained.

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