MERLIN Properties SOCIMI S.A., (MC:MRL) has announced the acquisition of Almada Forum shopping centre in Lisbon for €406.7 million from Blackstone. This acquisition adds additional annual gross rents of €24 million to the Spanish REIT’s portfolio whilst offering potential for future rental growth through improvements in the management, turnover rents and focused capex on selected areas.
Opened in 2002, Almada Forum is the dominant shopping and leisure destination in the south bank of the Tagus river, with a footfall of over 14.4 million visitors per year. The scheme is 98% let and has a GLA of c. 82,000m², of which 22,000m² are a Jumbo supermarket belonging to Auchan, and includes 5,500 parking spaces.
The shopping centre is anchored by Inditex brands, Primark, H&M, C&A, SportZone, FNAC and NOS Cinemas and attracts consumers from a catchment of approximately 2.8 million people including Lisbon and southern regions of Portugal.
According to Ismael Clemente, CEO of MERLIN Properties “The Almada Forum shopping centre is an example of an exceptional asset which is rarely found in the market. Quality mall shopping is the favourite retail option for Portuguese people. Despite competition by new online channels, the mall format continues growing at a very steady pace these days in the Iberian Peninsula and we believe in its future through transformation and adaptation to an ever-changing retail world”.
Merlin entered the Portuguese market in 2015 with the acquisition of a grade A office building located in Lisbon’s Parque das Naçoes which is fully leased to Novabase, a Portuguese IT company with a global presence in 33 countries and over 2,000 employees. The volume was c. €18M and was fully funded with equity. The property, which was built in 2007 and designed by Broadway Malyan, had a GLA of 6,740 including retail on the ground floor and 7 stories of office accommodation.