Sovereign Housing Association has agreed a deal with BlackRock UK Property Fund to buy a shopping centre and car park in Bristol city centre.
Sovereign, which manages almost 60,000 homes in the South of England, has bought the Clifton Down shopping centre and its 350-vehicle car park as part of the £27.2 million deal.
The housing association has purchased another local residential property and smaller surface car park as part of the investment.
Sovereign has hailed the multi-million pound deal as a ‘step change’ in its ambitions as it aims to take a more ‘land-led’ approach to its development.
Tom Titherington, executive director of development and commercial for Sovereign, said: “We have ambitions around taking more of a land-led approach and the control that gives us in our development plans, and so we are delighted to have secured the Clifton Down shopping centre and the adjacent land.
“This is a retail led, mixed use investment and is a really exciting opportunity for us as a business. The income will allow us to increase our development programme, and in the medium to long term there is the potential to redevelop the site to create a sustainable major mixed use development to include affordable and market housing.”
Clifton Down shopping centre was built in the early 1980s. The shopping centre and its car park together cover around three acres of land, making it by far the largest commercial property in the housing association’s portfolio.
Sovereign says that the income it will generate from owning the centre and the adjacent land will allow it to deliver more affordable homes across the South of England, improve the quality of its existing homes and ramp up its charitable activities.
The deal forms part of the BlackRock UK Property Fund’s strategy to reduce its retail exposure.
James Gibson, Sovereign’s development director, added: “It is fantastic for us and the area. It is the largest commercial investment owned by Sovereign and it is really good news for the business, especially in the current climate.”
Sovereign is one of the country’s largest housing associations, managing almost 60,000 homes and 140,000 customers and residents.
The Hampshire-based housing association aims to build around 1,900 new homes every year and operates across the South West and South East of England and the Isle of Wight.