Moorfield completes acquisition of Derby Riverlights

Moorfield Group, the real estate private equity fund manager, has completed the acquisition of the mixed-use Riverlights scheme in Derby for £16.5 million, representing a yield of 10%. The asset has been bought out of administration.

Extending to 199,008 sq ft including four upper floors, Derby Riverlights comprises a combination of retail and leisure units ranging from 3,600 to 8,000 sq ft, alongside two hotels occupied by Holiday Inn and Hampton by Hilton, and a Genting Casino.

Built in 2010, Derby Riverlights is located on the eastern edge of Derby city centre, adjacent to the intu Derby shopping centre and Riverside Gardens, and acts as a key gateway to the city.

The property incorporates Derby’s main bus station at the rear, which transports some 12 million people to and from the city centre each year.

Robin Matthews, Moorfield Group, said: “We recognised significant potential in Derby Riverlights to deliver a first-class retail and leisure asset. Derby City Council has been extremely supportive of the acquisition and we are working closely with them to provide a complementary offering that enhances the city’s overall leisure and retail portfolio.”

Derby Riverlights is adjacent to the city’s Castleward area, which is currently undergoing a £100 million redevelopment, including delivery of 800 new homes and 34,500 sq ft of commercial space.

The area will be further enhanced through the development of a currently vacant plot to the north, which is part of the city’s masterplan.

Robin Matthews continued: “The proximity of the bus station, Riverside Gardens and the Council House already provides significant footfall and the programme of redevelopment works due to be delivered around the site will further enhance the locations appeal to top-tier leisure and retail operators.”

Home to the global headquarters of Rolls Royce, Derby is an attractive Cathedral City which benefits from its location on the edge of the Peak District National Park and proximity to urban centres such as Sheffield, Nottingham, Birmingham and Leicester.

John Forkin, Marketing Derby, said: “The retail and leisure sector is a key element in the ongoing regeneration of Derby, with over 25 million visitors and £570 million of retail spend recorded every year. Assets such as Riverlights are fundamental in ensuring that we are able to provide the very best experiences to visitors and its enhancement really could help Derby rediscover the river.

“Moorfield is exactly the type of investor we should welcome into Derby, with an exceptional track record in the delivery of mixed-use leisure and retail destinations and I am entirely confident that the future of the Riverlights development is in safe hands.”

Martin Rawson, Derby City Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration said: “We welcome this investment as a real vote of confidence from a noted investor. In the near-term, this helps protect local employment but we believe we will soon see jobs created as new lettings are made. Derby City Council will be working with Moorfield to ensure the environment around Riverlights is improved so as to better welcome people into the riverside area.”

Derby benefits from excellent transport links, with the city centre just seven miles from Junction 25 of the M1 motorway. Frequent direct train services run to London St Pancras from Derby station and East Midlands airport is 10 miles from the city.

Colliers represented the administrators during the acquisition process, with DWF and Rapleys providing legal services and investment advice to Moorfield.