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Antiquarius in the King’s Road, Chelsea, among the first and best known of all London’s centres, The Mall in Camden Passage and Rogers Antiques Galleries in Portobello Road have all been owned by Atlantic since the 1960s. Today the company is a subsidiary of APL Ocean Ltd whose entire share capital has been bought for £50.3m by property giant London and Associated Properties. They make much of their income from rents.

The centres came under new ownership on September 19 and according to Neil Jackson, who manages the centres with Mike Spooner, he understands it is “business as usual” for the centres and the 150 or so dealers they house.

All the dealers have been made aware of the deal.

However, while no immediate changes are anticipated, the centres’ standholders are concerned as to their future. Although the new owners specialise in retail premises, Atlantic’s centres have visibly struggled for some years.

With a few notable exceptions, centres generally have been badly hit by the recession in the antiques business and centre owners have found it increasingly difficult to attract new blood.

Antiquarius particularly has suffered as this part of Chelsea’s once thriving antiques scene has declined.

John Heller, chief executive of London & Associated Properties, says: “This acquisition [APL Ocean] represents an excellent opportunity to own a substantial retail portfolio in established central London locations.

“We have identified clear opportuniities to extend and reconfigure some of them, while at the same time we believe we can grow rental income from day one.”

This implies that, at the very least, the dealers at the three centres can expect their rents to rise substantially – and soon. Shareholders information said that the gross rental income at Antiquarius was approximately £1,110,000 per annum and £190,000 and £290,000 respectively from Rogers and The Mall that also include office and residential units.

Neil Jackson and Mike Spooner are waiting to sit down with their new company heads to discuss the future of the centres, but in the meantime Mr Jackson told ATG “we are still signing up dealers”.

The Bond Street Antiques Centre, also owned by Atlantic, was not part of the deal.

By David Moss