The Moor estate is located in Sheffield city centre and is close to the city’s railway station, council offices, and both Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University. It is one of Sheffield’s designated city centre ‘quarters’ and has benefitted from significant private and public sector investment, which has established The Moor as the city’s primary retail and leisure destination.
Centred around an open-air pedestrianised thoroughfare, the estate provides 680,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space anchored by Next, Sainsbury’s, and an occupier-owned Primark, alongside a 670-space car park, a nine-screen cinema and The Moor Market, a covered marketplace owned by Sheffield City Council. The retail and leisure area has an affordable and therefore sustainable average rent of £13.90 per sq ft.
The estate comprises 15 assets capable of being sold separately, which provides inherent liquidity and offers a range of mixed-use development opportunities. NewRiver has identified the potential to develop up to 1,100 build-to-rent residential units and up to 300 purpose-build student accommodation units, offering significant capital growth opportunities.
The acquisition price of £41.0 million reflects a significant discount to the breakup value of these individual assets, as provided by an independent valuer. It also represents a net initial yield of 9.1%, which is expected to rise imminently following the completion of a number of leasing deals to 9.8%, with an equivalent yield of 11.3% and a reversionary yield of 14.6%.
The Moor benefits from its adjacency to Sheffield City Council’s £470 million ‘Heart of the City II’ regeneration project, which is delivering a dynamic and vibrant mixed-use district in the city centre that connects all neighbouring quarters. The project aims to generate 7,000 jobs in the city by 2030 and has already seen the development of a five-storey office building, which is fully let to HSBC and CMS, and a commitment by John Lewis to a new 20-year lease and refurbishment of its city centre store.
The gross asset value subject to the transaction is £41.0 million. NewRiver’s share of the consideration will be satisfied from existing resources, with completion scheduled for 1 April 2021. NewRiver will hold a 10% interest in the asset (NewRiver share: £4.1 million) and will benefit from 10% of the net rental income of £4.0 million per annum (NewRiver share: £0.4 million per annum). NewRiver will also be appointed as asset and development manager, in return for a management fee calculated with reference to the gross rental income and development costs of the asset, and will receive a promote based on financial performance.
Allan Lockhart, Chief Executive commented: “The acquisition of The Moor with our joint venture partner BRAVO represents a rare opportunity to acquire a 28 acre estate in one of the UK’s largest and fastest-growing cities, at a very attractive price which is far below the breakup value of the site. This acquisition will generate very attractive returns for NewRiver, driven by sustainable rental income and capital growth through the redevelopment of parts of the estate, principally for residential uses. Sheffield City Council has demonstrated that it is a forward-thinking and proactive local authority, and we look forward to working with them to deliver a vibrant and connected city centre. Taking a 10% stake ensures we maintain our financial discipline, as we remain on track to meet our target of £80 million to £100 million of disposals this financial year.”