Canterbury Council buys Whitefriars

TH Real Estate sells remaining 50 per cent to council for £75m

Whitefriars is a modern, open-air shopping centre that boasts Fenwicks, Marks and Spencer, Next, Boots, Tesco and Primark among many others. Altogether, it has 474,000 sq ft of retail accommodation spread across 63 shops, including six large stores.

It comprises four different areas – Whitefriars Street, Gravel Walk, Marlowe Arcade and Rose Lane. Ownership includes a parade of four shops fronting St George’s Street, six shops at Clock Tower Square and a 530-space car park. There are five office tenants and 38 residential tenancies.

In June 2016, the council bought a 50 per cent stake in Whitefriars. As part of that arrangement, it was given first refusal to buy the remaining 50 per cent.

The council’s chief executive, Colin Carmichael, said: “Taking full control of Whitefriars and its future plans means we will not need to liaise with anyone else when taking key decisions about the heart of the city centre. It also means it will be easier for a future council to sell the whole shopping centre or parts of it if the economic circumstances change.

“Our post-war predecessors made the far-sighted decision to buy land which allowed the council to develop what is now the retail heart of Canterbury, and we are happy to continue that ambition. By bringing the freehold and leasehold interests together, the market value of the shopping centre increases to the benefit of the council and local people.”

Savills represented TH Real Estate and Knight Frank represented Canterbury City Council.

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