The council is keen to improve Billingham, working with Evolve. Credit: via Barques

Billingham town centre traded

Evolve Estates, part of M Core, has added the 320,000 sq ft open-air retail destination to its growing portfolio, with St Modwen exiting.

Anchor tenants in Billingham include Asda, B&M, and Aldi. With more than 90 retail units and 673 car park spaces, the town centre attracts a footfall of about 70,000 per week.

Place North East reported in November that a deal was close, the transaction coming hot on the heels of M Core purchases in Darlington and Jarrow.

The sale price was undisclosed. St Modwen bought the asset a decade ago for around £14.25m.

Danny O’Keefe, founding partner at Evolve Estates, said: “Billingham shopping centre is a community focal point, aligning perfectly with our mission to enhance these essential retail hubs for the benefit of local residents and visitors.”

O’Keefe further emphasised the potential for improvement, citing the current availability of 10 vacant units.

Evolve said that its team of asset managers is already in talks with both national brands and local traders on moving to the scheme.

The firm added that ongoing collaborations with existing tenants, stakeholders, and Stockton-on-Tees Council will reinforce the commitment to seamless management and future development aspirations.

Stockton Council is indeed keen to improve Billingham’s prospects, securing £20m in Levelling Up Fund support at the third time of asking last year.

Law firm Clarke Wilmott and Cited Property acted for Evolve on the deal, while Four & Co and Pinsent Masons represented the vendor.

While many investors remain cautious on retail, M Core has injected more than £200m into retail assets in the last 12 months.

Notable acquisitions include Livingston Centre, Scotland; Grosvenor Shopping Centre in Northampton; and locally, the Meynell Road retail park in Darlington, traded in a £35m portfolio sale.

The business has also bought the 175,000 sq ft Viking Centre in Jarrow.

With £300 million earmarked for further investments, ranging from £500,000 to £30, and portfolios up to £150 million, M Core said it is actively seeking further acquisition opportunities.

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