Investor Benson Elliot has bought the Mander Centre in Wolverhampton for £59 million and is expected to press ahead with a multi-million pound refurbishment.
The centre was put up for sale for a reported £50 million in May and a £30 million revamp is planned to bring it up to date after buying it from Mander Investments.
The company - which recently bought Eleven Brindleyplace - confirmed it would undertake a major multi-million pound refurbishment of the existing 620,000 sq ft centre, providing space to attract a range of exciting new retailers.
The Mander Centre currently comprises more than 100 retail units, including Boots, BHS, JD Sports, New Look, Starbucks, Clarks, H Samuel, The Entertainer and Costa Coffee. The redevelopment will be anchored by a 90,000 sq ft Debenhams store, which will trade over three floors.
The new deal will see the return of the iconic Barbara Hepworth sculpture, Rock Form, to Wolverhampton.
Following the combined efforts of Wolverhampton City Council, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Richard Warren’s campaign group, Rock Form is set to remain in the city for everyone to view at the Art Gallery, before returning to the Mander Centre for a loan period once refurbishment work has taken place.
Peter Cornforth, director of retail at Benson Elliot, said: “We are delighted to have completed this acquisition, and are now looking forward to working with Wolverhampton City Council, the local community and our retailers to progress the planned refurbishment of the Mander Centre. Our vision is to enhance the retail offer, attract new retailers and bring new jobs and investment to help Wolverhampton realise its full potential.”
Councillor Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton City Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration and Prosperity today welcomed the sale. He said: “It’s a clear sign of the progress Wolverhampton’s making that a major private equity firm like Benson Elliot should want a stake in the city’s future.
“Benson Elliot’s purchase of the Mander Centre will bring new opportunities to the city centre – and with them the potential of new jobs and greater prosperity for local people. It also shows that the investment the council and its partners have made in improving public transport links to the city centre and in making it more ‘shopper-friendly’ has been well worthwhile.
“These are momentous times for our city, with work at the Interchange, i54 and the new Youth Zone seeing a level of activity we haven’t known since the 1960s.
“Benson Elliot has great plans for the Mander Centre – and on behalf of the council and all its partners, I’d like to welcome them to a city that is really making it happen”.
The acquisition of the Mander Centre builds on Benson Elliot’s regional investment programme, which has seen the firm invest more than £1 billion outside of central London over the past few years.