A KEY shopping centre in Middlesbrough has been sold in a multi-million pound deal.
Last month it emerged that The Mall Middlesbrough and The Alhambra Centre in Barnsley were to fall under the ownership of real estate fund manager F&C REIT (real estate investment trust) for a total sum of £108.1m.
Yesterday The Mall confirmed the deal had been sealed and said its new owner was planning to pump money into the centre to make it more attractive to shoppers. A spokesperson for the centre said: “Hopefully people will begin to see investment coming in, in different capacities.
“They are looking at different options at the moment and together we will decide the best way forward.”
F&C REIT would not say how much money it intended to invest in The Mall.
But a spokesperson for the company said planning approvals had been secured to extend the centre and make shop fronts more visible to passers-by.
Improving the food offering at the centre is also a priority, with more sit-down eateries set to be introduced.
“We are not looking at a wholesale redevelopment of the centre,” he said.
“The current set-up is what attracted us to it in the first place.”
He confirmed that existing rental agreements between traders and their landlords would be kept in place.
F&C REIT has a strong track record in the real estate industry and has more than £7.8bn of properties under management.
It bought the Middlesbrough and Barnsley centres from The Mall Fund, which invests in community malls throughout the UK.
It was established in 2002 by Aviva Investors and property firm Capital & Regional, which owns a 16.7% stake in the fund.
The Mall Middlesbrough is a major shopping centre in the town and home to high street names such as HMV, Boots, New Look, Top Shop and H&M.
Earlier this year there was speculation the centre was about to be sold for around £95m.
The final sale price has been kept under wraps but reports say it is nearer £80m.