Southampton: Hammerson sells slice of Watermark development to GIC

Hammerson has agreed to sell a 50% stake in Watermark, the REIT’s newly-opened 17,000 sq ft leisure development in Southampton, to GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, for £48.5 million. GIC is already Hammerson’s joint venture partner on the adjacent Westquay development.

The Watermark development, which opened earlier this month, brings the total retail and leisure space at Westquay to over 1 million sq ft. When fully leased, the scheme will provide stabilised annual income of £5.5m and is currently 95% let. It houses over 20 restaurants including Five Guys, Bills, Cau, Franco Manca, Byron, Nando’s, Casa Brasil, Cosmo and Red Dog Saloon, many of which have taken their first locations outside London. The leisure offer also includes Hollywood Bowl and a 10-screen Showcase Cinema de Lux which will open in February, featuring laser projection and advanced surround-sound technology.

The tenure of the Westquay joint venture between Hammerson and GIC has now also been extended, and Hammerson will receive a fee from the JV for the ongoing asset management of the combined centre. 

David Atkins, CEO of Hammerson, said: “GIC is one of our key joint-venture partners and we are pleased to take forward this relationship. The new restaurant and leisure complex at Watermark is the largest development of its kind in the UK, showcasing our skills in creating consumer-led destinations that cater to the family experience, bringing exciting new restaurants, the most technologically-advanced cinema in Europe and a stunning new esplanade alongside the historic city walls.”

Madeleine Cosgrave, regional head, Europe, of GIC Real Estate, said: “As a long-term investor, we focus on ensuring that income streams from our investments are stable and resilient. To remain competitive in an age of e-commerce, retail destinations need to offer attractive consumer leisure experiences to boost footfall and customer retention. We believe Watermark’s diverse tenant mix and offerings will provide these experiences and enable Westquay, which is already a prime regional mall, to continue generating good returns over the long term.”

Credit: CoStar