Ripley snap up prime Halifax retail site for £1.78M

2 November 2011

The Harrogate-based Ripley Asset Management has bought a prime retail investment in the heart of Halifax for £1.78 million.

Ripley, run by Julian D’Arcy and Michael Hardman, two of Yorkshire’s best-known property personalities, has purchased 26-30 Southgate on behalf of the Longcross Investment Fund from a private seller.

This purchase completes a successful first year for Longcross, whose share price opened at 97p 12 months ago and now stands at £1.26p.

The tenants of 26-30 Southgate, which comprises 5,000 sq ft of retail space, are Sports Direct and the Banana Beach Tanning Company. The headline rent is £55 per sq ft, providing a yield of 8.45 per cent.


Ripley snap up prime Halifax retail site for £1.78MAlex Fell and Michael Hardman of RAM outside their new retail investment in Halifax 


Michael Hardman commented:

This is an excellent off-market acquisition for us. The property is in the heart of the pedestrianised area of Halifax town centre and close to the new Broadgate office and leisure development. Sports Direct are a very popular retailer and have signed a long-term lease, while the initial yield is very attractive.

Halifax town centre is a popular retail destination with a high footfall. Major retailers represented in the town include Marks & Spencer, Wilkinsons, Boots, WH Smith, New Look, Peacocks, Dorothy Perkins and Tesco and they all combine to provide a comprehensive shopping experience.

Mr Hardman, former partner in Yorkshire Bank’s structured property finance team, and Julian D’Arcy, former chairman of the northern region of property consultancy Knight Frank, are now looking for more acquisitions to manage on behalf of the Longcross Property Investment Fund.

Michael Hardman explained:

On the back of a successful first year for Longcross, we have restructured our debt up to 46% Loan to Value that sits well with the model of the fund and we have strong income lines to service our modest gearing going forward. This has created a war chest of £4 million to invest. We are especially pleased that we have achieved our success in the midst of the worst recession since the Second World War. We are now focused on reducing our gearing over the next 3 years and enhancing the value of our stock through our asset management strategies.

There are now signs that both the residential and the commercial property markets are beginning to recover, albeit slowly, and we are ready to seize attractive investment opportunities when they arise across the country. We already have a unique mixed-use property portfolio and we are looking to build on this in the coming months.

We are a unique asset management house because we source the equity, agree the senior debt and run all management operations in house on behalf of our retained clients.

Julian D’Arcy commented:

Both Michael and I have a unique set of skills that complement each other in the commercial and residential sectors. We have a wealth of contacts in the commercial, residential and banking sectors throughout the UK, not just regionally.

So, overall, the future is very bright. During the next six to 12 months we will be aiming to increase our strong client base and grow the Longcross Property Investment Fund. We have the capabilities to grow and manage in-house assets to well in excess of £100.


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