London pressing ahead with sale of mall stake

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THE co-owner of Meadowhall Shopping Centre said it is making progress with plans to sell its stake in the centre.

London & Stamford Property added the centre in Sheffield “continues to perform well” despite the tough economy.

Footfall at Meadowhall was up 0.4 per cent for the year to the end of June and sales have edged up 0.1 per cent.

L&S, together with its Middle Eastern partner Green Park Investments, owns half of Meadowhall. The other half is owned by British Land.

Norwegian oil fund Norges Bank Investment Management is believed to be a leading contender to buy up to 75 per cent of the centre, with British Land thought to be planning to retain a 25 per cent stake in the site. It is understood a deal could be signed by August.

“We confirm that we are progressing, alongside our partner, Green Park Investments, the sale of our joint interest in the Meadowhall Shopping Centre,” said L&S.

“In such difficult economic conditions, retailers are very satisfied with the performance of their Meadowhall stores and there have been no administrations since we last reported in May 2012.”

The centre has signed new leases with Lego, Foot Asylum and Carluccio’s and five further leases are in solicitors’ hands. L&S added it is waiting for the outcome of its initial planning application to develop land surrounding Meadowhall and optimistic that a new home and garden concept store can be developed by retail giant Next.

The 1.5m sq ft centre was valued at £1.47bn in March by CB Richard Ellis.

L&S added it has completed another investment with Green Park – a £200m central London residential investment.

Chief executive Patrick Vaughan said: “Given the troubled banking market and a difficult economy, we continue to believe that more opportunities may be forthcoming to those with firepower and that acquisitions of good quality assets with returns well above the cost of capital will be possible.”

Meadowhall was part of the first wave of British mega-malls built in the 1990s. British Land bought Meadowhall in 1999 for £1.17bn and sold a 50 per cent stake to L&S and its Middle Eastern partner for £588m in 2009.