Property News - REIT swoops on Chequers centre, Kent for £103m

REIT Asset Management has beaten strong competition to buy the 542,000 sq ft (50,353 sq m) Chequers shopping centre in Maidstone, Kent.

It has paid the Stoneborough Trust, a consortium of Prudential Life Fund and Shell Pensions Trust,£102.7 million for the centre, which dominates retailing in the town.

The mall is anchored by Boots, Bhs, T J Hughes, Wilkinson and Next. It was developed in the 1970s, but refurbished substantially by the present owners over the past decade.

Prudential director of shopping centre investment David Alker said there was strong interest in the deal. 'The price the owners received for this asset represented an excellent return,' he said.

The purchase allows REIT to reinvest the proceeds of two sales over the past year, which saw schemes in Ipswich, Suffolk and Accrington, Manchester, sold for£56 million.

REIT has an investment portfolio valued at more than£2 billion and including properties across the UK and Europe.

CB Richard Ellis acted on behalf of Prudential and Shell, and REIT was advised by Franc Warwick.