Blackburn-based Adhan Group said it would invest “significantly” in the 270,000 sq ft building, whose previous owner went into administration earlier this year.
Already Adhan Group is in negotiations with prospective tenants. Current tenants include H&M, Marks and Spencer, Foot Asylum and River Island. The centre itself consists of 85 retail units and boasts a 410-space car park.
St George’s was previously owned by IRAF UK Dragon, which was part of InfraRed Capital Partners. IRAF UK Dragon went into administration in February.
The Adhan Group purchased St George’s for an undisclosed sum from administrators Alex Williams and Andrew Dolliver, who are partners with Ernst & Young. However, historic prices give an idea of what the sale price might have been. Back in 2015, IRAF UK Dragon has purchased the centre for £73m. The centre was sold for £87m in 2010.
Savills represented Adhan Group on the deal, while Knight Frank acted for the administrators.
“Acquiring St George’s is a significant milestone in the expansion of the portfolio of our retail arm,” said Adhan Group chief executive officer Salim Patel. “It is widely recognised as the dominant and premier shopping destination in the city and we are extremely proud to have purchased this landmark asset and intend to ensure it has a bright future, remaining central to the city’s strong retail offering.
“We identified it as an important strategic acquisition earlier in the year,” he continued. “It’s a very strong retail offering in a city which is undergoing a significant programme of re-development and investment with the city council investing heavily in the Harris Quarter, Stoneygate and Friargate. We envisage the centre cementing its position in the heart of Preston for many years to come.”
Adhan Group was founded by Patel and his family in 2003. It currently owns more than 10m sq ft of industrial property. The company’s retail arm was created in 2020 and is aiming to create an asset value of £1bn by 2023. The retail portion of the company is based in Hardman Square in Spinningfields.