6 October 2014

One of Northern Ireland’s oldest shopping malls for sale at £26m … but new owners will have to pay


One of Northern Ireland’s best known shopping centres is on the market with a price tag of £26m.

Connswater Shopping Centre is east Belfast, which is mainly home to discount retailers, has become the latest mall here to look for new ownership.

But any prospective buyer has been warned the acquisition brings with it an annual £60,000 rent to use a bridge over the nearby Connswater River.

The complex off the Newtownards Road houses a retail park and a shopping centre and has an overall 16% vacancy rate.

Retail tenants in the centre include Dunnes, Tesco, Blue Inc, New Look, Clarks and Boots, while the retail park has shops such as Poundworld, Poundstretcher, Harry Court and Maplin.

A sales brochure states that the owner is also liable to pay rent of £60,000 per year to the Crown Estate for use of a bridge over the Connswater River. The centre and park belong to Frank Boyd of Killultagh Estate.

The complex is being sold through agents CBRE though no-one was available for comment on the sale – but the brochure describes it as the “dominant shopping centre in east Belfast.”

The 16% vacancy rate is lower than the Northern Ireland average of 19%, disclosed in a report by estate agents Lisney in November last year. It describes the centre as made up of 39% aimed at the ‘mass’ market and the remainder aimed at the ‘value’ market.

It is also one of Northern Ireland’s oldest shopping centres, with the first part finishing in 1983, and a second phase in 1994.

Earlier this year Forestside in south Belfast and Foyleside in Londonderry were sold to Kildare Partners, a venture capital firm in the Republic of Ireland.

The Abbey Centre in Newtownabbey was bought by NewRiver Retail. The three centres were part of the retail portfolio of businessmen Ken Cheevers and John B McGuckian, placed on sale by Ulster Bank under Project Swallowtail.

However, it’s understood Kildare Partners were backing the pair in the acquisition of Forestside and Foyleside.

Meanwhile, both Cityside Retail Park and Shane Retail Park were sold by Corbo Properties to US investor Marathon Asset Management.


Connswater Shopping Centre was built in east Belfast with work starting in 1983 and being finished by 1994, making it one of Northern Ireland’s oldest shopping centres. It pre-dates CastleCourt in Belfast and the Buttercrane Centre in Newry. Sitting on Bloomfield Avenue, off the Newtownards Road, Connswater is mainly home to discount retailers. Among the names trading there are Tesco, Dunnes, Boots, Poundstretcher, Thomas Cook and Specsavers.

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