CoStar, a company that maintains a database of commercial properties, announced yesterday that:
“Surrey County Council has become the latest council to embark on a shopping spree after going under offer to buy Capital and Regional’s The Mall Camberley, CoStar News can reveal.
“The council is understood to have tabled a bid of around £88.5m for the 390,000 sq ft south east shopping centre, reflecting a yield of around 6.25%.
“The identity of the buyer comes after Capital & Regional stated in its results that it had received an unsolicited offer for The Mall around its current valuation.
“CBRE is understood to be acting for Capital & Regional as their strategic advisers on the sale. All parties declined to comment.
“The Mall is located in an affluent area close to Sandhurst Military Academy, and attracts around 9.7m visitors a year. It has 152 units and is home to retailers including House of Fraser, Topshop, TK Maxx, Boots and Primark.
“In May, Capital & Regional won planning consent for a £4.5m revamp of the Mall, which will include new lighting and flooring throughout…..
“If successful, the deal would be the latest in a string of council acquisitions, as local authorities take advantage of their low cost of debt to secure steady income stream for the future as funding from central government diminishes……
“The move to own assets outright has also been driven by local authorities playing a more active role in the regeneration of their town centres, with Surrey and Woking Borough Council, for example, working together to redevelop Woking town centre.”
Of course, nothing’s definite until it’s definite. However, this announcement is fertile ground for speculation. Will residents feel a greater sense of loyalty if they – directly or indirectly – own the shopping centre? Who will manage The Mall? (Capital and Regional manage the Kingfisher Centre in Redditch, though they own only 20% of it, so just possibly they’ll manage The Mall….). What does this mean for the London Road Block – will the county council play an active role in its much-needed regeneration? Are ALL Capital and Regional’s properties included in the detail; especially the former Allders building? What part will the borough council play?
When will we learn more?