GIC to buy 50% of Watermark mall in UK

The Watermark in Southampton is expected to provide a stable annual income of £5.5 million (S$9.8 million) when fully leased. With more than 20 restaurants, a bowling centre and a 10-screen cinema, the 17,000 sq m mall offers a wide range of leisure
The Watermark in Southampton is expected to provide a stable annual income of £5.5 million (S$9.8 million) when fully leased. With more than 20 restaurants, a bowling centre and a 10-screen cinema, the 17,000 sq m mall offers a wide range of leisure experiences designed to attract and retain customers.PHOTO: GIC

Sovereign wealth fund GIC is increasing its stakes in retail property on England's South Coast.
 

It is buying a 50 per cent stake in the Watermark, a newly opened shopping mall in Southampton, for £48.5 million (S$86.2 million), it announced yesterday.

It bought the stake from European property developer Hammerson. The two companies previously worked on a joint venture for the Westquay shopping centre, which is adjacent to the Watermark.

GIC bought a 50 per cent stake in Westquay in 2007 for £299 million.

The tenure of the Westquay joint venture has been extended, added GIC yesterday, and Hammerson will receive a fee for the ongoing asset management of the two malls.

  • $86.2m

    Amount that GIC is paying for a 50 per cent stake in the Watermark, a newly opened shopping mall in Southampton.

The Watermark opened early this month and is 95 per cent leased. It will provide a stable annual income of £5.5 million when fully leased, said GIC.

The 17,000 sq m mall has more than 20 restaurants, including American hamburger chain Five Guys, sourdough pizza joint Franco Manca and London burger chain Byron. The Watermark also hosts a bowling centre and a 10-screen cinema.

Ms Madeleine Cosgrave, the regional head for Europe at GIC Real Estate, said: "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."

GIC is one of the largest Asian state investors in Britain. It joined hands with student accommodation developer GSA to acquire a 7,150-bed student accommodation portfolio this year from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2016, with the headline 'GIC to buy 50% of Watermark mall in UK'. Print Edition | Subscribe