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LONDON-Haslemere Estates Management has sold a shopping centre in Bangor for £61 million ($96.2 million), the biggest single deal in Northern Ireland this year and the third biggest deal ever. The sale of the Bloomfield Shopping Centre and Retail Park is only eclipsed by deals on Castlecourt Shopping Centre and Forestside Shopping Centre in Belfast.

The purchase by a private investor represents a net initial yield of 5.58%. The centre comprises 212,000 sq ft on a single level mall anchored by Marks and Spencer and Tesco. There are an additional 43 units. The 78,000 sq ft retail park is let to McDonald’s, Quincys Family Restaurant, Xtra-vision and a Tesco filling station. There is also parking for 2,100 cars.

Bloomfield has the third highest Zone A rents in Northern Ireland after Castlecourt and Forestside. Marketing of the centre attracted the attention of local investors and UK institutions and property companies.

But local agents say the real test of the investment market will be the sale of McAuley House on Donegall Place in Belfast City Centre. The asking price for the landmark listed building is £30 million ($47.3 million) and its sale would represent the largest Belfast city centre deal in years. The 68,000 sq ft building includes four large units let to Zara, Monsoon, Clarks and The Disney Store, which generate a rental income of £1.9 million ($2.9 million) a year.

McAuley House was home to one of Belfast’s most famous department stores, Anderson McAuley, until 1994 when it was sold to a consortium of business people for an undisclosed sum and funded by the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC). The fund has now put it on the market as a result of restructuring of its property portfolio.

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