An Irish property tycoon has won a long-fought battle to buy Brixton’s covered markets in south London.
He beat Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, which had been in talks to buy the market for £30 million until the deal collapsed a month ago.
It was believed Ashley’s strategy could echo that of billionaire Teddy Sagi, who snapped up swathes of Camden to bring its markets under one ownership. He also helped stallholders to launch online sales.
But GCW, one of the selling agents for the vendor London & Associated Properties, said the deal had fallen apart as the “previous party did not comply with the agreed time scales”.
The talks came after a firm linked to Sports Direct bought land nearby earlier in 2017, with plans to open a Sports Direct underway.
The collapse is another blow for Ashley, whose efforts to sell Newcastle United also appear to be faltering, with Yorkshire businesswoman Amanda Staveley signalling that her takeover of the club is off the cards.
London & Associated Properties has owned the site since 2006. Boss John Heller said: “Brixton Markets were in a state of decline when we acquired them. We are proud that today they are home to arguably the most vibrant restaurant scene in London.”
Aidan Brooks expanded his Mayfair-based firm Tribeca Holdings from small-time Limerick apartment deals to global real estate. He already owns a number of shops, including in Knightsbridge and Old Spitalfields market, and some extremely valuable properties on London’s Bond Street and Oxford Street, as well as in Paris and Manhattan.
In 2015, Brooks went on what the New York Post described as a selling spree, selling more than $500 million of retail buildings. This included stores leased to Hermes and Graff Diamonds on New York’s Madison Avenue and the flagship US store of Polo Ralph Lauren, the so-called Rhinelander Mansion on Madison Avenue.
Last year, he put the apartment blocks he owned in Limerick on the market.
DealMakerz reckons Brixton’s locals will be more amenable to the markets being bought by Brooks than by Ashley.
The Brixton Buzz recently reported that several shops in Pope’s Road were closing down after being bought up by Sports Direct.
SDI (Brixton) Limited, a company linked to Sports Direct, spent £11,750,000 last year scooping up the large chunk of land behind Pope’s Road, bordered by two elevated railway lines and Valentia Place.
Located close to the nu-Brixton hotspots of Pop Brixton and Brixton Village, the eastern side of Pope’s Road currently hosts three low cost stores and the popular Casa Brixton Latin bar.
These stores are now permanently vacating their premises, and the Brixton Beach Boulevard party venue above the shops has announced that it will be closing at the end of the month – half way through its original five year residency.
Brixton Buzz said: “If Ashley & Co are successful in also taking over Brixton Village and Market Row, we can’t help but have a feeling of dread for the future of Brixton.”
Let’s hope Brooks and the other investors are committed to maintaining the area’s cultural heritage.