Property giant acquires dominant Solihull shopping centre

M Core, one of the largest, privately held commercial property portfolios in the UK, has acquired Chelmsley Wood shopping centre – the main retail centre in the town – as it continues its investment drive.

Anchored by an ASDA superstore, the centre comprises 461,012 sq ft of open convenience retail, with stores including Wilko, Iceland, Home Bargains, New Look, Sportsdirect, Poundland and Boots. The scheme, which is in the Solihull borough, enjoys an annual footfall of 7.5 million people.

Offices and leisure accommodation include a library, community housing offices and an advice centre, and there is also a multi-storey and surface car park for a total of 583 vehicles, making it the primary parking provision in the town centre.

Danny O’Keefe, founding partner of Evolve Estates, which is part of M Core, said: “This is a superb acquisition that I’m pleased to introduce into our joint venture with LCP. Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre is the main convenience shopping offer in the community and is surrounded by homes.

“As we continue our acquisition drive, retail centres such as this form a central role as we seek to invest and improve the sites for local shoppers and wider communities.

“The experienced asset management team is already speaking to a number of interested businesses that can see the attraction of opening a store in Chelmsley Wood and we hope to make announcements of new tenants soon that will really improve the scheme.

“We are also looking forward to creating some homes that will meet local requirements.”

Rob Ellis, asset manager of LCP, also part of M Core, has been appointed to manage the centre.

M Core has invested more than £160 million over 12 months in 25 retail centres. Major acquisitions include Cwmbran Centre, Cwmbran; The Galleries, Washington, Sunderland; Aviemore Retail Park, Aviemore; and Three Spires in Lichfield.

It has £300 million available to invest for assets ranging from £500,000 to £30 million and portfolios up to £150 million, and is actively seeking sites for acquisition.

The agent for M Core was Prime Retail and the solicitor was Clarke Willmott LLP. Mark Bennett at KLM Real Estate acted for the vendor.