TIAA-CREF Buys Massive Retail Property in England for $451M
By Alex Girda, Associate Editor
TIAA-CREF has recently announced the purchase of a massive retail property in England from privately owned property group Grosvenor. The American retirement plan provider has reportedly dished out about $451 million for Grosvenor’s Festival Place Shopping Center, in Basingstoke. This transaction stays in tune with TIAA-CREF’s penchant for investing in high-end retail properties that carry a great deal of weight in their areas.
Festival Place Shopping Center is a 1 million-square foot retail property that in 2002 went through a Grosvenor-operated, intense redevelopment process. The property now features anchor tenants, such as Debenhams and Marks and Spencer, while entertainment at the property is also ensured by a 10-screen Vue Cinema. Among its 175 available shop spaces, Festival Place houses big retail names such as Apple, Zara, H&M, Next, River Island, Superdry, Top Shop/Top Man and BHS. Parking services are secured by a multi-story facility accommodating up to 2,770 cars. Retailers at the property know it as the most representative shopping center in Hampshire.
According to Anthony Butler, director of real estate management with TIAA-CREF Asset Management UK Limited, the latest addition to the portfolio “fits with our long-term strategy to invest in high-quality, regionally dominant shopping centers”.
Grosvenor representatives also weighed in on the deal, with Tony Christie, head of retail at Grosvenor Fund Management, saying: “The sale of Festival Place to TIAA-CREF reflects the winding-down of Grosvenor Festival Place Fund, which soon comes to the end of its life.” The company noted that its cut of the sale will be redirected into the United Kingdom’s retail sector.
The Teacher’s Insurance and Annuity Association and College Retirement Equities Fund is a national financial services organization that currently manages assets worth $481 billion. The organization is one of the top providers of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields. Grosvenor Group is a privately owned company that primarily activates in three business areas, one of which is direct proprietary investment in real estate through operating entities in Britain and Ireland, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. One of those entities is Grosvenor Fund Management.