Fringe Box



Hermes and PRUPIM Exchange Contracts in Friary Centre Property Deal

Published on: 26 Mar, 2013
Updated on: 26 Mar, 2013
The Friary Centre - together with some surrounding properties valued at £150m

The Friary Centre – together with some surrounding properties valued at £150m

Prudential Property Investment Managers (PRUPIM), the real estate investment company, has announced that they have exchanged contracts with Hermes, the owner of the Friary Centre and several surrounding properties. The deal, once completed, will give PRUPIM sole freehold ownership.

Lead Councillor for the Town Centre, James Palmer (Con, Shalford) said: “The Council is very pleased to welcome PRUPIM as a major stakeholder in Guildford town centre.”

Hermes only took over sole ownership of the Friary centre in February 2012 when Westfield pulled out of Guildford, selling its half share of the centre to Hermes.

The deal involves a property swap with Hermes. Whilst PRUPIM acquires the Friary Centre and some surrounding properties, valued at £150m, Hermes obtain PRUPIM’s 36% minority stake, valued at £190m, in ‘thecentre:mk’, a Milton Keynes shopping centre.

PRUPIM logoAlex Jeffrey, chief executive of PRUPIM, said: “We are very pleased to be expanding our holdings in Guildford and reinforcing our commitment to the area.

“PRUPIM has extensive experience of developing complicated retail schemes and we look forward to using this knowledge in collaboration with Guildford Borough Council and other key stakeholders, as The Friary Centre and surrounding North Street site enters an exciting new phase.”

Hermes was understood to have been displeased with Guildford Borough Council’s decision not to involve them in the selection of the short-listed developers and disappointed not to be asked to participate as the majority land owner in the North Street site which adjoins the Friary Centre.

The company has applied for a judicial review of the council’s decision to grant planning permission to Waitrose to build a supermarket and 48 homes on the site of the Bellerby Theatre and Leapale Lane community centre. It is believed that the application could be taken over by PRUPIM, as new owners of the Friary, if they wish, once the deal is completed.

Cllr James Palmer, Lead Councillor for Town Centre and Transport added: “We recognise PRUPIM’s excellent investment track record right across the UK, representing another best in class investor in Guildford.

“We look forward to working closely with PRUPIM. Their investment and involvement is a testament to the strength and vitality of Guildford, and we are delighted they see further opportunity here.

“We believe PRUPIM has the experience, expertise and commitment to manage The Friary Centre in a way that benefits our local community, visitors and businesses. Crucially, they will play an important role as a significant owner of land in the North Street area and our scheme to redevelop this key town centre site.”

HermesChris Taylor, chief executive officer of Hermes, concentrating on there Milton Keynes acquisition, said: “We are long-term investors in Central Milton Keynes and have a proven commitment to the town and the centre itself, having heavily invested in The Centre MK for approaching 40 years.

“This deal represents a fulfilment of our primary strategic investment objective to take full control of our properties where possible and deliver long term added value via proactive asset management.”



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