Buoyant Windsor attracts competing investment bids

January 2014

GCW has successfully agreed the sale of Windsor’s King Edward Court shopping centre for £104.7 million on behalf of London & Associated Properties (LAP).

The deal sees Scottish Widows Investment Partnership buy the centre reflecting a net initial yield o 5.6% on a current rent roll of £6.24 million pa. The scheme is fully let and is anchored by Fenwick and Waitrose alongside leading retailers such as Fat Face, New Look, Next and H&M.

“King Edward Court has been a strongly performing investment for us and we felt that, with increasing interest in shopping centres from investors, this was an ideal opportunity to realise a profit on the centre” says John Heller, chief executive of LAP.  GCW has acted as development consultant and letting agent on King Edward Court since it was acquired by LAP in 2002 and advised on the sale jointly with Lewis & Partners. “The sale generated a number of strong competitive offers and the success of our asset management efforts over the past 11 years is reflected in the depth o interest in the sale, the level of the offers and the final price achieved” says GCW director David Gooch. “Our shopping centre expertise has helped LAP to transform the retail offer in Windsor and the rental performance of King Edward Court. There is still plenty of opportunity for the new owner to capitalise on the strength of the town and to take the centre to the next level” he adds. LAP purchased the centre for £45 million and invested a further £24 million as part of an intensive asset management programme. It recognised that the centre could do more to appeal to shoppers through an improved fashion offer and that there was an opportunity for a substantial redevelopment to rejuvenate Windsor’s fortunes. It undertook the development project in partnership with the local authority freeholder, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and GCW negotiated an extension of the head lease with the authority. 

LAP redeveloped a third of the shopping centre which created significantly more retail space and larger units to attract major fashion chains. GCW subsequently secured lettings to retailers such as Zara, H&M and Top Shop. The new-look centre opened in 2008 and included a 44,000 sq ft Waitrose supermarket on the first floor with direct access to a multi-storey car park and a 113-bed Travelodge hotel.  Windsor has been one of a handful of towns in the UK that has seen rental growth throughout the recession and has successfully moved up the shopping hierarchy in the west of London.