Praxis pays £30m for city shopping centre

Property investor Praxis has bought the Crossgates Shopping Centre in Leeds for around £30m.

The Isle of Man-registered company acquired the 175,800 sq ft centre from the Irish investor Donegall Place Investments in an off-market deal.

Most recent company accounts for Donegall Place Investments show the Belfast company made a pre-tax loss of £26m in the year ending September 2010.

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Published in May, the accounts show total losses for the year amounted to £123m after the company wrote down the value of its investments by £97m to £304m.

Auditor Maneely McCann said: “There still remains some uncertainty as to the exact valuation of the company’s investment property portfolio.”

The auditor’s report said the valuation was based on marketing material from external agents and on director assessments. No formal valuations have been carried out, it added.

The accounts also show bank loans and overdrafts of £296.9m. The company’s banks are Bank of Ireland, First Trust Bank and Ulster Bank.

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Donegall Place Investments is believed to have bought the Crossgates centre in 2005 when the commercial property market was near its peak.

Chris Beckerman, director and head of retail at Praxis, said: “We are very pleased to have finally completed on what proved to be a very difficult acquisition for reasons that were outside of our control.

“We remain highly acquisitive with substantial cash reserves available and will continue to build our shopping centre portfolio.”

Tenants at Crossgates include Tesco Metro, Wilkinson, Superdrug, Bon Marche and Peacocks. A source said they are trading very well.

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Coady Supple advised Praxis with Colliers International advising Donegall Place Investments and Ulster Bank.

Monaco resident Mark Harrison, 45, founded Praxis.

The company website describes him as a highly experienced investor with a career spanning 25 years.

Praxis has acquired more than £300m of UK commercial investment and development assets since 2009.