Ulster’s largest retail parks sold to local investors

The Outlet is to move towards the premium end of the market while Junction One will be mid-value
The Outlet is to move towards the premium end of the market while Junction One will be mid-value

Two of Northern Ireland’s largest retail parks - worth more than £40m - have been acquired by the Banbridge-based Lotus Group and real-estate management firm Tristan Capital Partners.

In a statement the buyers say Junction One and The Outlet, marketed together as Project Copeland, cover a combined total of 95 acres of land and offer 597,035 sq. ft. of prime retail and leisure property.

Junction One in Antrim opened in 2004 and covers 392,682 sq. ft. of shopping and leisure space. The retail park is fully let with tenwell-known brands including Lidl, Homebase and B&M Bargains.

Meanwhile the Outlet, on the outskirts of Banbridge, offers 204,354 sq. ft. of retail space.

Work is already taking place at The Outlet to enhance the leisure and food and beverage offering, including the construction of a McDonald’s restaurant and the fit-out of a new state of the art eight screen cinema, with MAXX screen, by Omniplex.

Alastair Coulson, director of asset and property management at the Lotus Group said: “Our acquisition of both retail parks demonstrates our confidence in the market in Northern Ireland.

“This is one of the largest retail deals to take place in the region this year and we are excited to play a central role.

“Now that The Outlet and Junction One are both under single ownership there is a significant opportunity for us to enhance and differentiate the sites.

“There will be a period of substantial investment to reinvigorate the schemes.”

Mr Coulson added: “We will be enhancing both destinations and providing additional and more diverse brands.

“Our strategy will direct The Outlet towards a mid-premium market position and differentiate this from Junction One, with a mid-value convenience position within the market.”

“Combined, these centres account for the vast majority of the Outlet Market in Northern Ireland, with both sites already housing a broad range of national and international occupiers, including strong anchor tenants,” said Peter Mather, MD at Tristan Capital Partners.

“The next step will be to enhance, differentiate and diversify both sites by investing significantly and working with specialist asset management partners in Northern Ireland and London.”