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Darlington's Cornmill Shopping Centre gets new owner in £108m retail firm expansion

Darlington's Cornmill Shopping Centre gets new owner in £108m retail firm expansion

The Darlington retail complex has a new owner after a property investment firm agreed a £108m deal.

NewRiver Retail Limited says it will take on the Neptune Portfolio, which includes Darlington’s Cornmill Centre.

Bosses at NewRiver say the Neptune deal, worth £92.3m, also takes in the Ridings Shopping Centre, in Wakefield, and Cardiff’s Capitol Shopping Centre.

NewRiver has also completed a £15.6m agreement for three further assets, which include a retail warehouse near York’s Clifton Moor Retail Park, London’s Blenheim Shopping Centre, and Daventry Retail Park, in Northamptonshire.

The expansion comes after a £150m shares offer.

David Lockhart, NewRiver chief executive, said: “Following our recently over-subscribed £150m equity raise, we are delighted to announce the swift deployment of the majority of the proceeds into these acquisitions.

“The Neptune Portfolio marks another major acquisition, and we are confident they will add significant long-term value for shareholders.”

NewRiver’s operations already include Middlesbrough’s Hillstreet Shopping Centre, Allison Court Retail Park, in Gateshead, and it has property in Newcastle’s NorthumberlandStreet.

The Cornmill Centre was bought for £84.5m by the Moorfield Real Estate Fund in 2007, which took it on from Investream, who had owned it from 2002.

Opened by Mayor of Darlington, Councillor David Lyonette, on August 27, 1992, the centre reshaped the heart of Darlington, with the most notable loss being the Co-op store, which stretched from Priestgate to Tubwell Row.

The centre was also used for filming of the BBC comedy sketch programme, The Fast Show.The mall, which welcomes thousands of visitors every day, was called Cornmill because in ancient times the Bishop of Durham sited the town corn mill where the TK Maxx multi-storey car park is today.