US-based real estate investment and asset management firm, The Ardent Companies (Ardent), has completed the acquisition of Touchwood shopping centre in Solihull from Lendlease Retail Partnership (LLRP), appointing Sovereign Centros as asset manager and Cushman & Wakefield and Knight Frank as joint leasing agents.
With the appointment of a new team, Ardent commences plans to enhance the established offering at Touchwood, encompassing 650,000 sq ft of retail, restaurant, and leisure space, through a new asset management initiative it is calling ‘Project Atlanta’.
Sovereign Centros will also work alongside Cushman & Wakefield and Knight Frank to drive new initiatives as part of Project Atlanta focussed on attracting the latest retail and leisure concepts to the centre, with Ardent already inheriting significant demand for space from potential new occupiers.
Project Atlanta will see Ardent and Sovereign Centros work closely with Solihull Council to implement a series of improvements to Touchwood’s signage, entrances and the main arcades to maximise the opportunities for Solihull as a key visitor location and capitalise on regional investment initiatives, including the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, with nearly 50% of all events being hosted within Solihull Borough.
Matt Shulman, CEO at The Ardent Companies, commented: “Touchwood is an exceptional shopping centre and completing the acquisition marks a new milestone for our UK investment platform, which we are excited to grow further in alignment with our strategies and objectives in the US.”
Andrew Hilston, managing director at Ardent UK, commented: ‘Touchwood’s exceptional location and strong tenant line-up were important factors in our decision to invest – underpinned by its emergence as the only John Lewis anchored centre in the region. Solihull is poised for growth as a key commercial location within the West Midlands and we have already received numerous competitive approaches for space at the centre from potential occupiers across retail, leisure and hospitality.”
Chris Geaves, chief executive of Sovereign Centros commented: “We are delighted to be appointed at Touchwood and see a real opportunity to strengthen the centre’s position at the heart of a thriving regional market. We look forward to applying our extensive asset management expertise and to working closely with the leasing agents, centre teams, (Workman& Partners) and the local council to progress a range of new initiatives that bring Touchwood in line with the wider growth ambitions of Solihull.”