Begbies Traynor Group

Sale of shopping centres breathes new life into Ayr

Date Published: 02/05/2014

The Kyle Shopping Centre in Ayr, the nearby Arran Mall and an adjacent development site in Carrick Street have been sold by administrators Begbies Traynor in a multi million pound deal which will give the town centre a new lease of life. The purchaser is Squarestone, the specialist London-based regeneration and development company which plans to rejuvenate the seven acre site to provide a coherent, community orientated destination for the town.

Following the appointment of Paul Dounis and Ken Pattullo of Begbies Traynor as joint administrators in June 2013, the administrators engaged Valad Europe to assist with asset managing and subsequent marketing of the shopping centres and development site. The shopping centres have continued to trade as normal whilst they were reviewed by the administrators who put in place initiatives to enhance their value to potential purchasers. A sale was completed within ten weeks of formally going to the market.

The combined floor area of the two adjacent centres is 125,000 sq ft on a site that extends to c.7 acres in the heart of Ayr Town Centre. The Kyle Centre features 30 shop units, comprising approximately 76,000sq ft of retail space and a newly redeveloped food court. The nearby Arran Mall features 23 units providing 42,000 sq ft of retail space together with 6,760 sq ft of office space. Current occupiers of the centres include Bon Marche, New Look, Barrhead Travel, Shoezone and Vision Express.

This is the first UK-based retail investment for Squarestone, the serial real estate entrepreneurs, who incubate new property businesses such as Hub Residential with its London properties for London workers, F15 – a large housing project of over 600 homes and a London office investment portfolio. Squarestone has also developed two shopping destinations in Brazil.

Squarestone specialises in development opportunities that present an acute supply and demand imbalance and the town of Ayr, on the South West coast presents an opportunity for such a redevelopment. Control of these two malls, located at the heart of the town centre, will allow a complete approach to its further rejuvenation.

Squarestone intends to submit the plans for redevelopment by the end of the year.

“Since last summer, we have worked hard to make the shopping centres more attractive to potential purchasers, consolidating many of the existing tenancies and securing agreements with key tenants,” commented Paul Dounis of Begbies Traynor. “This deal is great news for Ayr and we’d like to thank the council for their support in working with us to find a solution that benefits the local community by providing improved amenities and revitalising the local economy, so giving the town a brighter future.”

Andrew Richardson of Valad Europe commented: “As a result of our asset-management initiatives, we were able to protect value in the businesses and generate significant interest in these assets. Having identified a number of value-add opportunities, we implemented a competitive sales process in order to maximise returns for the administrators.”

Robert Sloss, partner at Squarestone, said: "This large site offers a significant regeneration opportunity and the prospect that a prominent part of Ayr, which has seen a serious lack of investment in recent years, will become once again a vibrant community hub.”

Graham Hamilton at P J Leggate & Co, who advised on the acquisition and will act as asset manager for the centres, said: “South Ayrshire Council and Ayr Renaissance have ambitious plans to re-establish Ayr town centre as a premier shopping and leisure destination as well as attracting new investment. We have a number of ideas to help further improve the centres and attract new occupiers. We look forward to working with the planners and the local authority to help that rejuvenation take place with the Kyle Centre and Arran Mall as an integral part of it.”

About The Author

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Ken joined the Glasgow office of Begbies Traynor in 2003, before overseeing the firm's expansion into further offices in Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Belfast. He previously worked at KPMG, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Scotland. He has a broad range of experience in Corporate Rescue and Recovery, as well as in turnaround and restructuring, corporate and personal insolvency, investigations and IBRs.

Specialisms: Licensed trade, haulage, property investment/development, construction, agriculture engineering/manufacturing.

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