Helical to co-develop retail park in Gliwice (PL)

Helical Bar plc and Standard Life Investments, acting on behalf of one of its institutional clients, have signed an agreement to develop jointly a 66,000-m² retail park and shopping center at Europa Centralna, Gliwice, Poland, with possible additional phases to be implemented in the future.

Construction of the retail development has already commenced with completion due in October 2012. The development will comprise a 28,000-m² shopping center anchored by a 10,800-m² Tesco Hypermarket, and a 38,000-m² retail park anchored by a 9,500-m² Castorama DIY store.

The development is currently 51% pre-let to Tesco, Castorama, H&M, Kappahl, Lindex, Smyk, JULA, RTV Euro AGD and others, with heads of terms agreed on a further 12%. It will be funded by a combination of a €72-million development loan from Aareal Bank and €40 million cash from the joint venture partners.

Helical is providing €4 million (10%) of this cash, retaining a 37.5% equity stake in the joint venture. Standard Life Investment's client will acquire Helical's equity stake, and that of the local management team (12.5%), two years after completion of building works for a sum reflecting their share of the value of the development.

Gerald Kaye, Development Director at Helical said: "The fact that Standard Life Investments and their client have joined us on this transaction endorses the quality of this development and our long-held belief in the strength of the Polish market, which despite concerns elsewhere in Europe, remains one of the stronger economies.

"This deal will see the return of most of our current equity invested (circa £16 million cash) for investment elsewhere within the Group and reduces our current stock levels by circa £43 million (gross). We expect it will provide us with a good development profit at our planned exit from the scheme in 2014/2015."

Danny McHugh, Head of Continental European Real Estate at Standard Life Investments said: "Entering into this development joint venture with Helical provides an opportunity to access excellent returns from a substantially de-risked development. We believe Europa Centralna will be a top quality retail destination on completion with a mix of National and International retailers.

"We are anticipating strong growth over the longer term given its location in this densely populated region of Southern Poland and unique position on the intersection of Poland's two main primary highways.

"This acquisition follows others this year in continental Europe, where our research lead investment approach and jurisdictionally focused team have allowed us to source excellent investment opportunities against a difficult economic backdrop for Europe."

Source: FTI Consulting

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