UK shopping center development pipeline dries up (UK)

The number of new shopping centers being completed in the UK this year is likely to fall by around 40% below the 10-year annual average, according to new research from Cushman & Wakefield. Just 80,000 m² of shopping center gross lettable area (GLA) was added to the market in the first half of 2010.

New shopping center GLA

Source: Cushman & Wakefield

The second half of the year is expected to see the completion of a handful of small- to medium-sized schemes, pushing the total completed GLA for 2010 to around 215,000 m² This would represent a 1.3% increase in total stock on 2009, the second lowest annual increase in provision recorded in the UK in 17 years.

In its latest UK Shopping Centre Development report, the global real estate adviser warns that development activity is likely to remain subdued for the foreseeable future. Approximately 135,000 m² and 260,000 m² is due for completion in the second half of 2010 and 2011 respectively. Nonetheless, it has been announced that work will begin on Land Securities' Trinity Leeds scheme - the first significant scheme to commence since the recession began.

Reliable forecasts for 2012 and beyond are difficult as many developers do not comment on the status of their pipeline projects, but no significant shopping center projects have started construction recently. As a result, completion levels are not likely to pick up before late 2012/early 2013.

As at June 2010, total shopping center provision in the UK stood at just over 16 million m² across 693 schemes (which are over 5,000 m² in size). Three new schemes/extensions opened across the UK during the first half of 2010, the largest being the 38,000 m² Eldon Square South in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The most pipeline development activity is taking place in Greater London with three centers currently under construction; Stratford City (175,000 m²): One New Change in the City (52,000 m²) and Central Square in Wembley (12,500 m²). The 230,000 m² of new shopping center space equates to a 14% increase in total shopping center stock. The remaining pipeline schemes are relatively evenly spread across the UK, with eight regions due to see either a new scheme or an extension open by the end of 2011.

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