Hammerson has exchanged contracts to sell Liberty Shopping Centre in Romford to Dublin-based Cosgrave Property Group for £281m

The 441,324 sq ft (41,000 sq m) centre, anchored by Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, had a book value of £229m at 31 December 2005.

Net rental income is expected to reach around £10m in 2006.

Cosgrave, who is a house builder and commercial developer in Ireland owned by the Cosgrave family, made its debut in the UK in January with the purchase of phases 1 and 2 of Land Securities Caxton Gate redevelopment in Birmingham for £80m and in May made its London debut with the £132.5m purchase of Prudential Property Investment Managers' 197-213 Oxford Street, London W1.

In Ireland it owns schemes including Radisson St Helen's Hotel at Booterstown, an office block on George's Quay in Dublin, and Westend Retail Park in Blanchardstown.

Hammerson developed the original Liberty Shopping Centre in 1968 in a joint venture with Standard Life Investments. In 1999, Hammerson acquired Standard Life's 50% interest in the scheme and the freehold for approximately £53m.

John Richards, chief executive said: ‘Hammerson has added significant value to the Liberty Shopping Centre in recent years. The centre trades strongly and dominates its catchment. This disposal is in line with Hammerson's policy of recycling capital.’

The disposal follows the £425m purchase of LXB’s five retail parks this month.

Hammerson was advised by Jones Lang LaSalle and Cosgrave was advised by CBRE.