CB Richard Ellis announces sale of Thistles shopping centre ground lease, Stirling

On behalf of Stirling Council, CB Richard Ellis (Scotland), has announced that it has completed the sale of the Thistles Shopping Centre ground leases in Stirling to UBS Secure Income Property Fund for £23m. The sale reflects an initial yield of 3.9% with an anticipated reversion in 2008. Colliers CRE acted for the purchaser.

The sale, completed on 4 December, has allowed Stirling Council to sell its heritable interest in the shopping centre, which is managed by Standard Life Investments and is subject to two ground leases that have 140 and 160 years unexpired.

The Thistles Shopping Centre, which was Scotland’s first covered shopping centre, is located in an area that benefits from a strong local economy and offers more than 500,000 ft2 accommodating 87 units. Annual footfall is in excess of 12 million and tenants include Debenhams, Boots, Zara, Next and Gap.

Gavin Willins, Director (Capital Markets) for CB Richard Ellis, said: “At a time when the investment market in the UK is under pressure, this sale is significant and a positive sign that deals of this scale are still achievable. Quality ground lease investments are rare and as a result have proven to be more resilient to the outward yield pressure currently affecting the property investment market. The interest received and the price achieved is a reflection of the secure income generated by the ground leases and quality of the Thistles Shopping Centre.”

Stirling Council’s executive member with responsibility for corporate, resources and economy, Councillor Colin O’Brien, added: “The sale of this major asset is excellent news for the Council and the people of Stirling. It will allow us to reinvest the proceeds in the creation of new assets for the communities, such as the new Sports Village and other projects that will advance our plans for the improvement of services for our citizens.”

Photograph shows: The Thistles Shopping Centre, Stirling