Business

Derry business family partner with Rushmere owners to buy Foyleside shopping centre

Foyleside looks set to return to local ownership in a deal involving Derry business family the Simpsons.
Foyleside looks set to return to local ownership in a deal involving Derry business family the Simpsons. Foyleside looks set to return to local ownership in a deal involving Derry business family the Simpsons.

A DERRY business family has partnered with the new owners of Rushmere to buy the Foyleside shopping centre.

Patrick and Edmund Simpson are understood to have agreed terms to buy the Derry shopping complex as part of a consortium including Ian McMahon.

The brothers, whose business interests include the Brunswick Moviebowl in Derry, and Belfast hotels Benedicts and The Landsdowne, are believed to have agreed a deal that will see Foyleside sold for below its £34.25 million guide price.

Ian McMahon, who owns the DV8 fashion chain, led the deal to buy the Rushmere shopping centre in February 2023 for £46.5m.

The deal comes after south Belfast shopping complex Forestside was sold to one of the north’s richest couples.

A property vehicle ultimately controlled by Michael and Lesley Herbert bought the popular retail park for £42m, around £5m above its guide price.

The pair are among the north’s biggest property owners, and in 2020 sold their fast food empire of 146 KFC restaurants to Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who later led a takeover of Asda.

Read more:

  • Forestside shopping centre bought by one of north's richest couples
  • Forestside and Foyleside shopping centres put up for sale
  • Rushmere sold for £10m below asking price, with administrators partly blaming Liz Truss

Mr Herbert told the BBC he plans to develop a new 'food village' at the site, creating 100 permanent jobs.

The Herberts also recently acquired Barry’s Amusements in Portrush.

Both shopping centres went on the market in May 2023 for £75 million, less than a decade after London-based private equity firm Kildare European Partners paid around £135m for the Derry and Belfast retail assets.

The latest deals will net Kildare Partners around half of what they paid for the assets in 2014.

The private equity company is headed by ex-Sunderland owner Ellis Short.

It's understood Foyleside sold for less than its listed price of £34m.
It's understood Foyleside sold for less than its listed price of £34m. It's understood Foyleside sold for less than its listed price of £34m.

The sale of Forestside is already complete, with Forestside Acquisitions Ltd now owned by Mussenden Properties Ltd.

Based at Aisling House on the Stranmillis Embankment, the base of the Herbert’s Belfast operations, Mussenden was set up as a property vehicle in May 2022 as a subsidiary of the Herbert’s main property company Kirk Bryson & Co.

It’s understood the Foyleside deal has now reached the ‘sale agreed’ stage.

The Derry complex comprises 364,637 sq ft of retail space with 53 units spread across four levels.

At the time of putting the centre on the market, selling agent Savills said the scheme was 98 per cent let, with a footfall of 7.5 million in 2022.

Forestside has been sold for a reported £42m.
Forestside has been sold for a reported £42m. Forestside has been sold for a reported £42m.

The seven acre site in Derry City including parking for 1,520 vehicles.

The deals continue a recent trend of major retail assets returning to local ownership.

The Ballymena-based Walker family bought the Fairhill shopping centre in 2021 from German investment group Patrizia AG.