French asset manager makes first NI purchase

The building is in a prime location at the southern end of Donegall Place
The building is in a prime location at the southern end of Donegall Place

French-owned firm Corum Asset Management has completed the off-market acquisition of one of Belfast’s prime retail properties, in the largest retail investment transaction in the province so far this year.

The building at 40-46 Donegall Place is currently home to Next and Eason, and extends to 67,000sqft. It was acquired for £16.4m, which equates to a net initial yield of 7.05%.

Paris-based Corum Asset Management was launched in 2012 and has acquired over 101 properties in 12 European countries since then.

“We are actively looking for high quality investment opportunities in all commercial sectors, including alternative investments,” said Philippe Cervesi, investment director at Corum.

“The purchase of 40-46 Donegall Place is only our second in the UK and first in Northern Ireland, and we are committed to sourcing and acquiring other opportunities throughout the UK and Europe.”

Nicky Finnieston, investment director at Belfast-based Lisney which acted on behalf of Corum, said: “We are delighted to have acquired one of Belfast’s best retail assets for Corum, in what was a quick and smooth transaction.

“From identifying and agreeing the deal Corum completed within one month. We look forward to working with them on other transactions as they expand in our market.”

The building is located in a prominent location on the prime retail pitch adjacent to Marks and Spencer and River Island.

The area has seen a real resurgence in recent years with vacancy rates reducing from 20% in 2014 to 9.1%, below the UK average, in 2017.

The completion of the new Ulster University Campus and the development of Royal Exchange is expected to further strengthen the prime retail core over the coming years.