|Link to Reuters|
"Hammerson plc and Westfield today announced they have entered into a joint venture to redevelop the retail centre of Croydon. As part of the joint venture, Westfield has acquired a 50% interest in the £115 million Centrale shopping centre from Hammerson. The joint venture will also purchase a 25% interest in the Whitgift Centre, following completion of Hammerson's conditional acquisition agreement with Royal London.
"Under the new joint venture agreement, Westfield and Hammerson intend to redevelop and combine the two main Croydon shopping centres, the Whitgift Centre and Centrale, to deliver a comprehensive and transformational change to Croydon. The mixed use scheme of around 200,000 sqm will include retail, leisure, residential with the potential for hotels and offices, and will create over 5,000 new jobs.
"Hammerson and Westfield will meet with all stakeholders over the coming weeks to discuss their plans for Croydon, following which a revised masterplan will be created combining the best elements of both schemes. It is anticipated that planning consent could be secured in 2013, with construction expected to start on site in 2015 for the c. £1bn scheme.
"Westfield and Hammerson have set up a joint management company which has responsibility for development, leasing and asset management of the completed scheme. The Partnership will engage Westfield to undertake the design and construction of the project. Hammerson will continue to asset manage Centrale and any further acquisitions prior to the development of the Whitgift Centre. A Westfield Executive will lead the project development team and it is intended that a Hammerson Executive will lead the asset management of the completed centre.
"Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, has welcomed the conclusion of the joint venture agreement between Westfield and Hammerson to bring forward the regeneration of the retail centre of Croydon, and will officially launch the new joint venture today at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon. He said:
"Croydon has huge potential to return to its former glory as one of London's most vibrant town centres, and a major driver of its economy. The redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre at its heart is crucial to this vision.Westfield and Hammerson's innovative developments have breathed new life into long neglected corners of cities across the country, creating thousands of jobs and delivering growth that will soon be repeated in south London."
"David Atkins, Chief Executive of Hammerson, said:
"We have shown our commitment to Croydon through our existing investments in the town centre and I believe that by working together we can deliver a world class scheme for retailers and residents. Both we and Westfield remain excited and convinced by the opportunity in Croydon, which we can now progress with clarity,"
"Frank Lowy AC, Chairman of Westfield, said:
"The £1billion redevelopment joint venture with Hammerson will provide certainty for the residents, local businesses and retailers of Croydon and the region. The delivery of a major retail regeneration scheme will re-establish Croydon as South London's premier shopping district and will be a catalyst to further investment and development in the Croydon borough."
"Ian Harley, Chairman of The Whitgift Foundation, said:
"As the freeholder of the Whitgift Centre, the Foundation is delighted that there is now alignment between the key commercial players in the town and we look forward to working together with all parties to find a way to bring forward this much needed regeneration."
"A press conference attended by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and the Chairmen of Westfield and Hammerson is being held at Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon this morning." (Video)
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