Castlecourt Shopping Centre in Belfast put up for sale

Castlecourt shopping centre in Belfast is being put up for sale.

The industry magazine Property Week has said the two owners of the centre, Westfield and Hermes, hope to get about £170m for the centre.

If the building is sold, it will break the record for the single biggest property transaction in the city.

Castlecourt contains about 350,000 sq ft of retail space and its tenants are expected to pay about £13m a year in rent.

BBC NI business editor Jim Fitzpatrick, said industry sources believe the price is a potential bargain because its owners had it on the market just two years ago for £350 million.

“The dramatic drop in price reflects the massive change in the property market generally and the Belfast retail scene in particular,” he added.

“Once the landmark development, Castlecourt has had to contend with stiff competition from Victoria Square in recent years, combined with a recession which has seen shoppers spending less in the High Street.”

Westfield is an Australian company which controls one of the world’s largest portfolios of shopping centres. Hermes is a London-based investment company.

Our editor added that reports indicated that Westfield wanted to focus on regional centres.

“That may suggest that they will now concentrate more firepower than ever trying to get development moving at their stalled Sprucefield site where they want to build a John Lewis store and other retail units,” he said.

Taken from BBC website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13644268