Holywood developer Wirefox acquires £6.75m Dumfries retail centre
HOLYWOOD-based property developers Wirefox has extended its Scottish portfolio with the acquisition of a major retail centre in Dumfries.
The firm, run by Bernard Eastwood, bought the Southergate Centre on the town's High Street.
The asset has formerly been part of Nama's Project Eagle loan portfolio.
It had been on the market for around £6.75 million.
Wirefox has already invested in three residential properties in Scotland but Southergate represents its first foray into Scottish retail.
The company said it had plans for a mixed-use redevelopment of a significant part of the 2.3-acre site.
It currently comprises 14 commercial units and a public car park.
But Wirefox is in discussions with operators about converting at least two units into a family restaurant, cinema or gym.
The firm's director of asset management Michael Wright said: “This is a significant acquisition for Wirefox as Southergate Centre is our first retail property investment in the Scottish market.
"Following successful residential purchases in Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders, this investment augments our portfolio in Scotland and will act as a springboard to further deals.
“Southergate Centre represents a significant ‘value add’ opportunity for the heart of Dumfries and we intend to apply an effective asset management strategy over a five-year period which will physically enhance the current offering, maximise returns and provide a balanced mixed-use development.
“We have exciting plans for a change of use to the current nightclub, whose owner is in administration, and an attractive former listed bank on the site. There is major redevelopment potential and we are considering designs for a number of leisure uses.
“Wirefox has developed a stellar pedigree for strategic acquisitions and successful asset management, and Southergate Centre is another feather in our cap.”
Southergate is just the latest investment by Wirefox which has also been expanding its portfolio in Northern Ireland.
Earlier this year it snapped up the prominent Longbridge House on the corner of Waring Street and Hill Street in Belfast.
Other acquisitions include Oxford and Gloucester House on Chichester Street while last year it bought substantial housing development lands near Lisburn.