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LONDON-Retail and leisure asset manager Capital & Regional has formed a 50:50 joint venture with AWG to take over and manage the the Great Northern leisure and commercial development in central Manchester. Capital & Regional has invested £5m ($8 million) into the joint venture and will also manage the property which is valued at £72.5m ($120 million). Senior debt has been provided by the Bank of Scotland.

The scheme occupies a 12-acre island block at the heart of Manchester’s city centre leisure, pubs and conference area with frontages to Peters Street, Deansgate and Great Bridgewater Street. It is adjacent to the GMEX exhibition complex and Metro station.

Great Northern is a Grade II listed Victorian warehouse providing a mix of pubs, offices, leisure and retail accommodation, together with a new cinema building and an open public square. It provides a total of 371,657 sf , together with a 1,234 space car park, and is partly let generating a current net income of £4.8 million ($7.9 million) per annum.

An AMC multiplex cinema occupies approximately 75,000 sf and NCP operates the car park. There are a number of smaller tenants in occupation along the Deansgate frontage and around the arena. According To C&R the remaining space offers significant opportunities to increase income.

Capital & Regional recently formed a specialist leaisure division, called X-leisure and headed by ex-Dome chief executive P-Y Gerbeau. It already operates a number of urban retail and leisure schemes including the O2 complex on London’s Finchley Road. Capital & Regional Chief Executive Martin Barber said: “We are very pleased that AWG has chosen us as their partner. We believe this represents an opportunity to transform the complex into a major leisure destination for Manchester and the north west.”

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