GIC to buy 50% of Watermark development in Southampton, UK, for $86m

SINGAPORE - Singapore sovereign fund GIC has contracted to buy 50 per cent of Watermark, a newly-opened leisure and dining development in Southampton, Britain, from Hammerson for £48.5 million (S$86.1 million).

The two companies are partners in a joint venture to develop Westquay. Watermark, adjacent to Westquay shopping centre, opened in early December, bringing the total retail and leisure space at Westquay to 93,500 square metres. Watermark, currently 95 per cent let, will provide annual income of £5.5 million when fully leased, said the two companies in a joint release on Friday (Dec 30).

The tenure of the Westquay joint venture will also be extended, with Hammerson receiving a fee from the joint venture for the ongoing management of the shopping centre. The deal is expected to complete before the end of the year.

Said Ms Madeleine Cosgrave, regional head, Europe at GIC Real Estate: "As a long-term investor, we focus on ensuring that income streams from our investments are stable and resilient. To remain competitive in an age of e-commerce, retail destinations need to offer attractive consumer leisure experiences to boost footfall and customer retention. We believe Watermark's diverse tenant mix and offerings will provide these experiences and enable Westquay, which is already a prime regional mall, to continue generating good returns over the long term."

Hammerson's chief executive David Atkins added: "The new restaurant and leisure complex at Watermark is the largest development of its kind in the UK, showcasing our skills in creating consumer-led destinations that cater to the family experience, bringing exciting new restaurants, the most technologically-advanced cinema in Europe and a stunning new esplanade alongside the historic city walls."