New Hope for Hereford Shopping Centre Tenants

Posted on 11 May, 2014 by Cliff Goodwin

Hereford’s trouble-hit Maylord shopping centre has a new owner with promises of “significant developments” over the next few months.


Lunar Holdings Sarl — a joint venture between real estate investors Apollo Global Management and M&M Asset Management — has confirmed its takeover of the 50-shop centre, but refused to disclose the sale figure. Within hours the company named property consultancy Prime Retail as leasing agents and London-based chartered surveyors Lee Baron as managing agents.

The freehold of the mid-1980s built retail complex is owned by Herefordshire Council and produces in excess of £33,000 a year in rent. Its anchor stores are Top Shop, TK Maxx and Wilkinson’s. A statement from the new owner said it was working on a “number of new initiatives to enhance the scheme and retail offering”.

LHS’s acquisition comes at the end of seven years of uncertainly for the Maylord and its tenants. In the spring of 2007, Hereford council’s cabinet agreed to explore a “new deal” for the centre which had seen no significant investment since opening 20 years earlier. By August, however, property investor PruPIM — now M&G Real Estate — had put its interest in the centre up for sale.

A year later the centre was bought by Croskeep Ltd, part of the DRE Group, for £40m. Its ownership ended in 2013 when receivers were appointed to the centre under the terms of a mortgage given by Aviva Commercial Finance to Croskeep. Its tenants were then informed their occupancy rights were under review by London-based Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

The receivers appointment suspended the powers of Croskeep and its managing agents DRE Group and DRE Group Property Services to deal with the centre, including the right to receive any income, rent arrears, and other payments. JJL subsequently appointed property managers Lee Baron to run the centre.

The retailers were then told that any payments made into Croskeep or DRE’s accounts during its final months would be taken as “compensation for occupation of property and not as rent”. They were also notified that nothing done by the receivers could be taken as “the adoption of any lease, tenancy, licence, or other rights” they have, nor did it waive any of the rights of Croskeep Ltd or “any other persons” against them.

When the Hereford Times investigated the collapse of the Maylord’s owners it discovered accounts submitted to Companies House showed that, as at January 31 last year, Croskeep had just £650,807 in its bank account. Its liabilities were £5,043,702, and assets £2,327,919. In effect it owed £4,262,605.

The same investigation showed that the DRE group owed £41,690,890 to creditors – against fixed assets worth £45,287,300 – with the sum primarily made up of bank loans and mortgages secured, along with overdrafts, on the group’s assets.

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