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Northwood Investors Early Favourite To Snap Up €580M Blanchardstown Centre

Northwood Investors is understood to have made a €580M bid for Blanchardstown.

U.S.-based Northwood Investors has emerged as an early leader in a six-way race to acquire the Blanchardstown Centre.

The investor is understood to have put forward a first-round offer in the region of €580M, The Times reports, a slight premium on valuations of around €550M expected, although still €170M less than Goldman Sachs paid to acquire Blanchardstown from U.S. private equity giant Blackstone in late 2020.

Northwood is a privately owned investment adviser founded in 2006 by John Kukral, former President and CEO of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors.

The company describes itself as having a value-driven investment strategy, with around $9B in assets under management. It differs from its peers in that it manages one open-ended fund rather than a series of closed-ended funds. 

That is reflected in a European portfolio that includes offices, logistics, build-to-rent and mixed-use. It also owns the 467K SF Antegnate shopping centre in Italy’s Lombardy region.

In Ireland, the company owned 1 and 2 Heuston South Quarter, interconnected Class-A freehold office assets with a total leasable area of 218K SF, between 2014 and 2018, before completing an off-market sale for around €175M. It also owned One Warrington Place, a 56K SF office in D2 it acquired from the National Asset Management Agency for €27M and held between 2012 and 2014.

The proposed disposal of Blanchardstown was understood originally to have had a guide price of €650M to €725M when it first came to market last summer, with Eastdil Secured and CBRE handling the sale.

The 1.1M SF Blanchardstown Centre consists of over 180 shops. It is anchored by retailers such as Dunnes Stores, Penneys, Aldi, Hollister, Mango, Marks & Spencer, a nine-screen Odeon cinema, two external retail parks, external retail units and eBay's headquarters.

First-round bidders for Blanchardstown included UBS, Hines, developer Marlet Property Group, a subsidiary of Starwood Capital, and investment and property development company Sretaw, which last year completed retail acquisitions from Iput for Victoria’s Secret’s Grafton Street flagship store and the Lower Baggot Street Tesco store for €28M and €12M, respectively.

Despite attracting 16 million people annually and with a catchment of 1.9 million people, the third sale of Blanchardstown Centre in around eight years has seen its value fall steeply since Blackstone paid €950M in 2016 before divesting to Goldman Sachs in late 2020 for around €750M.