Housing association buys Bristol shopping centre and car-park

Sovereign Housing Assoc Bristol purchase

Sovereign Housing Association has bought a shopping centre and the adjacent car-park, in the heart of Bristol, in a £27.2m deal from BlackRock UK Property Fund.

With 60,000 homes and 140,000 customers Thames Valley-based Sovereign is one of the leading housing associations in the country, and this multi-tenanted Clifton Down shopping centre and its 350 vehicle car park, is by far the biggest commercial property in Sovereign’s portfolio.

A local residential property and smaller surface car park has also been bought as part of the investment.

Clifton Down was built in the early 1980’s and the shopping centre and car park together covers over three acres of land.

The income generated from ownership of the centre and the adjacent land means Sovereign will be able to deliver additional affordable housing across the south of England, improve the quality of their existing homes and increase their charitable purposes.

Sovereign are taking more of a land-led approach to their development plans, and this multi-million pound agreement, announced today, is seen as a kick-start to those aspirations.

Tom Titherington, Executive Director Development and Commercial for Sovereign, has hailed the deal as a step change in Sovereign’s development ambitions.

He 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.”

James Gibson, 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.”

This transaction is in line with BlackRock UK Property Fund’s strategy to reduce the Fund’s retail exposure.

Sovereign were represented in the transaction by Savills and BlackRock by Knight Frank