Business

Northern Ireland’s biggest property investment deals of 2022 revealed

Longwood Retail Park in Newtownabbey has been acquired by Newry-based Longwood Park Limited for £23.5m.
Longwood Retail Park in Newtownabbey has been acquired by Newry-based Longwood Park Limited for £23.5m. Longwood Retail Park in Newtownabbey has been acquired by Newry-based Longwood Park Limited for £23.5m.

A £17 million deal by Randox to acquire a major industrial site in Co Antrim in November helped push commercial property investment in Northern Ireland to the highest level in five years during 2022.

Investment in the sector reached £350m last year, according to a report from Savills, with retail property deals accounting for around £140m (43 per cent).

That figure was boosted by two deals done in the final weeks of last year.

Longwood Retail Park in Newtownabbey was sold for £23.5m in December, with Longwood Park Limited named as the buyer, according to Savills.

The company is ultimately owned by Ian Hill, founder of Newry-based Hill Engineering.

Just weeks earlier, Randox completed the acquisition of a site less than five miles away.

The Antrim life sciences giant paid £17m for the 830,000 sq ft Central Park logistics and industrial complex in Mallusk.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group was responsible for the biggest commercial property deal of 2022, paying a reported £40m for an off book deal to buy Boucher Retail Park in south Belfast during March.

Another big off the book deal in June 2022, saw a private buyer pay around £20m for Weavers Court Business Park, Belfast.

Central Park in Mallusk, which was bought by Randox for £17 million in November 2022.
Central Park in Mallusk, which was bought by Randox for £17 million in November 2022. Central Park in Mallusk, which was bought by Randox for £17 million in November 2022.

Assessing the state of the commercial property market here, Savills said Northern Ireland has been identified by some investors for its value.

“With soaring inflation squeezing real rates of return, investors now view the region as a value play. “Another key attraction is Northern Ireland’s unique position as a gateway between the EU and the UK, which has supported investor interest,” said the property group.

“As a result, 2022 represented the highest level of investment activity in Northern Ireland for the past five years. And, with the preparation of multiple sizeable assets in 2023, we expect this trend to continue.”

BIGGEST INVESTMENT DEALS OF 2022

1) Boucher Retail Park, Belfast

Frasers Group for £40m (Q1)

Seller: Corbo Properties

2) Longwood Retail Park, Newtownabbey

Longwood Park Limited for £23.5m (Q4)

Seller: ABRDN

3) Weavers Court Business Park, Belfast

Private buyer for £20m (Q2)

Seller: Private

4) Central Park, Mallusk

Randox for £17m (Q4)

Seller: Private

5) Connswater Shopping Centre/Retail Park, Belfast

Private investor for £16.25m

Seller: Killultagh

6) Ards Shopping Centre

Comer Group for £16m (Q4)

Seller: Belfast Office Properties Ltd

7) 35 Donegall Place, Belfast

Wirefox for £15.9m (Q4)

Seller: Bywater

8) Cityside Retail and Leisure Park, Belfast

David Samuel Properties for £14m (Q1)

Seller: Marathon Asset Management (MAM)

9) Four Corners Hotel (Premier Inn), Belfast

Local private investor for £12.2m (Q3)

Seller: CBRE Global Investors

10) Bunzl Headquarters, Armagh

International fund for £9m (Q1)

Seller: David Samuel Properties

11) Montgomery House, Belfast

Charitable trust for £8m (Q2)

Seller: Unknown

12) Imperial House, Belfast

Private buyer for £7m (Q3)

Seller: Unknown

13) Longbridge House, Waring Street, Belfast

Local private investor for £6.25m (Q4)

Seller: Wirefox

14) Killymeal House, Gasworks, Belfast

Private investor for £6.1m (Q2)

Seller: Unkown

15) Ross’s Court, Belfast

Martin Group for £5.7m (Q2)

Seller: UK pension fund