UK - Property company and fund manager Delancey has sold a UK shopping centre for more than £70m (€78m) to the West Midlands Pension Fund.

The Arc in Bury St Edmunds was acquired via the local authority pension scheme's property manager ING Real Estate Investment Management.

The shopping centre, which provides 370,000 square feet of retail and residential space, was developed by Delancey and opened in March 2009.

This is the fourth large property asset the West Midlands Pension Fund has acquired in the UK since the market began to recover last year.

In 2009 the fund acquired an industrial unit, an ASDA supermarket for £36.5m and office building in Birmingham for £15m.

Brian Bailey, director of pensions at West Midlands, told IPE Real Estate that the UK market was becoming extremely competitive for prime properties that were large enough in size to meet the pension funds requirements.

The pension fund has invested between 7% and 9% of its overall £7.4bn investment portfolio in real estate, directly in the UK through ING REIM and through funds overseas.