Metro Holdings to acquire stake in two Manchester sites

SINGAPORE - Retail and property firm Metro Holdings is entering the British real estate game with a joint venture to develop two sites in Manchester.

The firm will pay 5.7 million pounds to British developer Scarborough Group International for a 25 per cent stake in Scarborough Real Estate, which owns the plots in the English city, Metro said on Wednesday.

Separately, Hong Kong-listed Top Spring International Holdings has also acquired a 25 per cent stake in SRE and will build mixed developments on the land in Middlewood Locks and Miliners Wharf with Metro.

Metro said the investment will enable it to broaden its revenue streams and extend its property interests beyond the region and China, where it has malls.

Once the acquisition is completed, Metro will extend a loan of up to 4.3 million pounds to SRE, which will bring its investment in the venture to 10 million pounds, said the firm.

The joint venture expects to develop a 2.55 million sq ft mixed-use project on the 23.6-acre Middlewood Locks site with work slated to start by next year.

A project comprising 144 apartments and a retail component is earmarked for The Miliners Wharf site, which spans 1.06 acres. Metro Holdings expects construction to start this year with completion in 2016.

The two projects are estimated to have a total development value of 600 million pounds.

Metro, which has commercial developments in China, Japan and Indonesia, is also developing The Crest condo in Prince Charles Crescent in River Valley, with developer Wing Tai.

Metro shares closed one cent up at $1.01 on Wednesday.