British Land- It’s about focusing on ‘high-quality retail and central London office space’
Over the last few years, retail stores have been hit hard by the property slump and this year, hundreds more high street retail stores all over the UK, such as Mothercare and Oddbins, have been forced to close. However, property development company, British Land who own Meadowhall, are confident despite difficult times.
Chris Grigg, Chief Executive of British land, commented in the Guardian, "We feel optimistic for the future. We're invested in the right sectors – high-quality retail and central London offices and we've seen rising rental values in both. The stories around retail are pretty tough but retailers are prepared to come to the right places."
British Land recently let around a third of London’s iconic Cheesegrater building to Aon and are confident they can continue to fill unused space by negotiating higher rental prices with interested tenants. British Land reported on Monday, a rise of 12.5% in net asset value and a 2.8% increase in underlying profit. The company put their success down to focusing on the right retail locations and London office space.
Meadowhall Shopping Centre has supposedly improved by adding new retailers such as LK Bennett, Guess and Boux Avenue. After a complete refurbishment of the Meadowhall, House of Fraser, the company saw a 20% rise in sales. New restaurants and eateries such as the Giraffe, are also been added.
British Land’s next office space project could include the 1980’s Broadgate Complex near Liverpool Street. In collaboration with Blackstone, they plan to knock down the main parts of the building to create a new headquarters for Swiss bank UBS. However the plans face criticism from those who wish to preserve 1980’s architecture.
Chris Gibson-Smith, Chairman said, “At British Land, we are facing the future with confidence. Our office portfolio comprises modern, flexible buildings that meet evolving occupier needs and we own some of the best retail assets in the UK, where consumers want to shop and retailers trade efficiently and profitably. While, as a nation, we have moved from ’Recession’ to the ‘Age of Austerity’, consumers are still shopping and good businesses are looking to grow. British Land has been well served by the quality, location and sustainability of its portfolio.”
Chris Grigg, Chief Executive said, “British Land has had a very active year. We have again outperformed the market and there is real momentum in the business. We have made a significant commitment to London office development and also continued to build on our high quality retail portfolio. Our strong letting performance across our portfolio shows clearly that there is still demand from occupiers for the well-located prime retail and London office assets we provide and we expect this to continue. With our strong asset base, management expertise and financial strength we are well placed to continue our strong performance.”
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