Metrocentre Has New Management after Collapse of Intu

Metrocentre Has New Management after Collapse of Intu.
The Gateshead shopping centre is the latest Intu property to be handed to a new management organisation. New managers taking over the running of the Metrocentre have heralded a new era for the North East’s biggest retail and leisure destination.

Sovereign Centros will today take over the reins of the Gateshead shopping and leisure complex, following the collapse into administration of previous operators Intu.

The company will asset manage the centre on behalf of owners, the Metrocentre Partnership, while Savills will take on the responsibility for the on-site property management.

Sovereign Centros said it wanted to “inject new life” into the centre and confirmed it had a number of exciting plans in store, with a potential £25m available for future investment.

Centre management team working at Metrocentre will remain in place, and Savills will be handling the staff transition in its role as managing agent.

It has also made a commitment to invest in the retail park adjacent to the centre and bring in new names to enhance the existing offering.

The centre’s continued attractiveness has been underlined by world-famous Hamleys toy store and Next Beauty and Home launching recently while Sky also will be opening a new concept shortly. Meanwhile, a number of existing retailers have expressed the desire to increase their size of shop and the Metrocentre Partnership will work closely with them to achieve their aims.

Sovereign Centros chief executive Chris Geaves, said: “This is a very important day. We are delighted to be taking the centre over.

“There are clearly challenges for us all at this time but we want to take the centre back to where it was as ‘The Metrocentre’, which the local community was always very proud of.

“Our aim is to inject new life with vigour with different uses to ensure that it remains the place to come to for a very long time. We have a number of really good and exciting ideas.

“We are in discussion with a number of existing retailers who want to upsize, which goes to show how well they trade and we have a number of new exciting concepts who want to be represented.

“The Partnership are making the additional finance available, initially £25m to enable these things to happen. The adjacent retail park, which is an important part of the overall offer, needs some attention. Again, we have some good ideas to freshen this up and bring in some new names.

“The strength of this asset is supported by a strong shopping-hungry catchment who enjoy free parking, the ease of access of getting to the centre and we are going to do our best to make sure we satisfy them.”

Intu went into administration in June after the Covid-19 lockdown left many of its tenants unable to pay their rent, but its 17 shopping centres, which are held in separate operating companies, have continued to trade.

Today’s deal means the future of both North East centres has been secured, with property management company MAPP being appointed to look after Eldon Square in Newcastle, while specialist investment manager APAM will assume asset management responsibilities.

Martin Healy, director for the Metrocentre Partnership, added: “We were delighted to launch the consent solicitation last week. It demonstrated the support of our noteholders at this time.

“The commitment will ensure that the initial business plan envisaged to develop and expand the offer can start to be implemented. To do this we have put in place a team which we are confident will take the asset forward, building on its enviable reputation and we look forward to working with them.”

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