Trinity owner'¨warns of Brexit risk to property

Land Securities, the owner of the Trinity Leeds and White Rose shopping centres, said if the UK decides to exit the European Union, it would h'‹i'‹t occupier demand and could reduce commitment to new construction.

The FTSE 100 business ​added that​ a vote to leave the EU on June 23 would slow ​down ​decision-making, drive down demand and lead to falling rents.

​The group’s c​hief executive Robert Noel ​​ painted a bleak picture of what the UK leaving the EU may mean for the property industry.

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“We believe a vote to leave the EU would lead to business uncertainty while negotiations take place on an exit treaty,” he said.

“Over the short term, we anticipate this would drive down occupational demand in our market. In turn, this would lead to falling rental values and a reduction in construction commitments.

“So an exit could be painful for the property industry and those it supports.”​

​​Earlier this week rival British Land​, the co-owner of Meadowhall shopping centre,​ also warned that a Brexit vote would have an “adverse impact” on business​. ​Land Securities ​recently ​​said it ​has broken ground on the 65,000 sq ft extension at White​ ​Rose Shopping Centre in ​south Leeds.

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The extension will feature an 11-screen Cineworld IMAX Cinema with the latest IMAX technology and six restaurants, including​ ​Wagamama, TGI Friday’s, Chiquito and Pizza Hut.

The proposal to extend the​ ​existing centre’s ​current ​700,000 sq f​​t​ ​received conditional planning consent ​last year.

Land Securities said t​he leisure-focused extension, which will incorporate a number of new architectural features​ ​emphasising outside public areas, demonstrat​es its commitment to providing

customers with a total offer and experience that shoppers expect.

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The plan to increase the​ ​centre’s leisure options follows the £7​m refurbishment to White Rose Shopping Centre’s​ ​food and beverage offer, tripling the overall size of the previou​s​ offer, ​and introducing​ The​ ​Balcony​,​ a 20,000 sq ft dining destination.

Since opening in​​ 2014 and introducing five​ ​new restaurants to the centre, ​the centre said ​The Balcony has been increasingly popular amongst visitors.

​​Rob Jewell, ​p​ortfolio ​d​irector​ at​ Land Securities, said: “The addition of the IMAX cinema and dining options will enhance the strong retail offer at​ ​White Rose Shopping Centre and provide the full day experience that modern customers are​ ​accustomed to. Land Securities is thrilled to provide the centre’s loyal catchment with​ ​prestigious and favoured leisure and dining brands, such as Cineworld IMAX, Wagamama and​ ​Chiquito.”

​​Kevin Frost, property director at Cineworld Cinemas​, said: “We are confident in the positive opportunities that come with anchoring the leisure extension at White Rose Shopping Centre alongside leading restaurant brands. The centre provides us with the ideal opportunity to reach an existing, expansive catchment of customers who are enthusiastic about the influx of a world-class leisure offer.”

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​Land Securities, ​Britain’s largest listed property developer​,​ said ​on Tuesday ​it is well positioned irrespective of the outcome of the ​Brexit ​vote as strong demand for commercial property helped it post a rise in asset value for the year. ​

The firm said its profit before tax fell by 45​ per cent​ to £1.3​bn in the 12 months to the end of March. However, other key industry measures showed the value of its assets rose by 10.3​ per cent​ to 1,482p a share in the period, while revenue profit, which includes joint ventures, was up 10​ per cent​ to £362m.​​ Mr Noel said: “We are pleased to report a strong performance for the year.

“Revenue profit and net asset value per share are up, lease terms are longer and, as planned, speculative development exposure and net debt are lower.”

Analysts at Liberum said: “Net asset value for 2016 is in line with our expectation, but earnings and the dividend are comfortably ahead demonstrating confidence in the positioning of the portfolio.”

Following the announcement the group’s shares rose 2 per cent to close up 23p at 1,162p.