Meadowhall £750m sale report: Owner British Land talks up retail park investment opportunities

The owners of Meadowhall have refused to comment on reports that the Sheffield shopping centre is to be put up for sale with a price tag of £750m – with proceeds invested in deals for smaller retail parks.

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The Sunday Times has reported that property giant British Land is preparing for the sale, with agents from CBRE appointed to handle a process that “will kick off in the coming weeks”.

Both British Land and CBRE refused to comment when contacted by The Yorkshire Post.

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Meadowhall is jointly owned by British Land and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund Norges.

Meadowhall is reportedly being put up for sale. Picture: Chris EtchellsMeadowhall is reportedly being put up for sale. Picture: Chris Etchells
Meadowhall is reportedly being put up for sale. Picture: Chris Etchells

British Land purchased Meadowhall in 1999 for £1.2bn, nine years after it opened, from developers Eddie Healey and Paul Sykes.

The Sunday Times said the £750m asking price suggests the value of Meadowhall has halved since 2012, when Norges purchased a 50 per cent stake that valued the shopping centre at £153m.

The paper said British Land would put proceedings from sales into buying retail parks.

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A statement to the London Stock Exchange by British Land on Tuesday did not mention anything in connection with the prospective Meadowhall deal but instead highlighted the company’s belief that retail parks currently represent an “attractive investment”.

It highlighted that recent deals on retail parks it already owns have seen Sports Direct double its store sizes on both Wheatley Retail Park in Doncaster and Teesside Park, while new Flannels and B&M stores have opened at the latter location.

A spokesperson for British Land said: “We are the UK's largest owner and operator of retail parks with 8 per cent of the market.

"Retail parks are the preferred format for a wide range of customers due to the format's affordability, convenience, and omni-channel compatibility.

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"This, combined with limited new supply due to planning constraints, small lot sizes, and market values below replacement costs make retail parks an attractive and liquid investment in the direct market.

“Strong demand and limited supply, combined with our scale and focus on operational execution is keeping occupancy at 99 per cent and is giving us strong pricing power.

"We continue to see significant leasing momentum across our retail parks, and in the 5 months to 30 August have leased 511,000 sq ft, 15.3 per cent above of Estimated Rental Value, with 677,000 sq ft under offer at 19.4 per cent above ERV.

"Given we continue to lease significantly above ERV we are upgrading our retail park ERV growth guidance for FY2024 from 2-4 per cent to 3-5 per cent.”

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Other recent deals for British Land include a new Primark store at the Glasgow Fort retail park.

British Land said it would be hosting an asset tour for investors and analysts at Nugent Shopping Park in Orpington today, with senior managers attending to provide more details about its ongoing strategy for retail park investments.