BURTON’S biggest shopping centre has changed hands in a deal worth £250 million.
Real estate fund manager F&C REIT snapped up Coopers Square from Grosvenor Fund Management, which put it on the market a year ago.
The deal has raised the prospect that the centre’s £25 million extension plans, which include a new Debenhams department store, may be resuscitated.
Centre manager Dave Chadfield (pictured) said the takeover by F&C, which already owns Middleway Retail Park in Burton and has other interests in the town, was ‘a big deal’.
He said the investment amounted to a vote of confidence in the retail sector in general and Burton in particular, adding: “It’s positive and can only be good for the town.”
As revealed by the Mail in January last year, Grosvenor opted to sell Coopers Square as the fund it managed for investors in the centre was due to expire in 2014, leaving it with no guarantee of bringing the extension plans to fruition in time.
That may now change under the stewardship of F&C, which is understood to have bought Coopers Square by pooling its own funds with those of institutional investors, whose identities have not been revealed.
Joanne Wilkes, the new owners’ head of in-town retail, said: “We are delighted to be taking an active role in one of the country’s top shopping destinations and look forward to working with our customers and the local business community to ensure Coopers Square is managed and developed with everyone’s best interests at heart.
“We are confident we can use our expertise to strengthen the centre’s position as the retail centrepiece of Burton and the surrounding area and we will be engaging closely with East Staffordshire Borough Council in an effort to do so.”
Grosvenor had owned the centre since 2000.