Intu SGS, the property company comprising four of the UK’s leading retail and leisure destinations, has announced that the fourth and final of its centres has transferred successfully to new management.

intu Lakeside in Thurrock, Essex, which sits within the largest out of town retail concentration in Europe, has left the portfolio of intu properties plc after it went into administration in June 2020. The centre will now operate under the management of Global Mutual and Savills.

With an annual pre-Covid footfall of over 20 million, equivalent to filling Wembley stadium every day of the year, intu Lakeside houses some of the UK’s most popular brands including H&M, Harrods (H Beauty), Primark and Zara.

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Having recently undergone a £72 million leisure extension anchored by Nickelodeon in a UK first, this 1.6 million sq ft centre is a major attraction in the South East. Along with over 250 shops, intu Lakeside offers a vast range of leisure attractions including the lake’s Aquapark inflatable obstacle course, Hollywood Bowl ten-pin bowling venue, Nickelodeon Adventure indoor park, Puttshack mini golf and over 50 food and beverage (F&B) outlets.

Global Mutual has officially taken on the role of Asset Manager with Savills appointed as Property Manager. Global Mutual is a highly experienced asset manager in the UK, US and Europe, currently managing £5 billion of assets in primary sectors including retail, office and alternatives. International real estate advisor Savills is a leading provider of shopping centre management services across the UK with a strong track record in managing prime, high profile retail destinations.

While intu properties plc and several group companies entered administration on 26 June 2020, administrator KPMG was not appointed over any of the property companies (PropCos) that own the individual shopping centres, all of which have continued to trade as normal, up until 5 November, with a range of Covid-safe measures in place. Intu SGS is the largest of these PropCos.

Following the UK Government’s directive that all non-essential shops are to close from 5 November, the three Intu SGS shopping centres in England, including intu Lakeside, are now operating on a partially closed basis. Visitors will still be able to access essential services, click and collect and takeaway services in centre. intu Braehead in Renfrewshire, Scotland, is subject to different rules and will remain fully open.

The existing centre name and branding will remain in place for an interim period.

Steve Gray, Head of European Retail Asset Management at Global Mutual, commented: “intu Lakeside is the South East’s premier destination for a family day out. This outstanding centre has benefitted from significant recent investment in its leisure and F&B offering that has positioned it at the forefront of evolving consumer trends.

“Over the past few months, the Intu SGS team has worked hard to secure the financial position of our four centres to ensure we can navigate the near-term challenges posed by Covid-19. The agreement we reached in August with our lenders secured up to £30 million in new funding as well as a relaxation of certain debt covenants for the remainder of this year. We continue to have the support of our lender group through this challenging time.”

Martin Wallace, Property Management Director at Savills, commented: “We are excited to be working with Global Mutual and the exceptional in-house team at intu Lakeside. This centre was the UK’s first retail and leisure resort and has been one of the most recognisable landmarks in the South East for the past 30 years. I would like to thank the centre team for the fantastic job they have done in challenging circumstances to support our retailers and local community.”

Howard Oldstein, Centre Director for intu Lakeside, said: “The hard work and dedication of our team has meant that intu Lakeside has not only continued to operate safely for visitors and tenants, but we have also signed great new leases including the September launch of Harrods’ brand new concept H Beauty. With our new management team, we look forward to the future with great confidence.”

Jim Tucker, partner at KPMG and joint administrator of intu properties plc, said: “With all four Intu SGS centres now transferred smoothly and on time, we wish the intu Lakeside and wider team the very best of luck for the future.”