The Westfield Group (ASX:WDC) has announced that it had agreed to sell its 75% interest in the Broadmarsh shopping center in Nottingham in the United Kingdom for £55 million (approx. 64 million), representing a premium to book value. Westfield's interest is being sold to Capital Shopping Centres and is subject to pre-emptive rights held by Westfield's 25% joint venture partner in Broadmarsh, Possfund.
Both existing Westfield centers have significant retail, residential and commercial redevelopment potential and Westfield's UK team is also working on the development of another landmark shopping center in Milan, Italy.
Westfield Co-Chief Executive Officer, Steven Lowy AM, said: "[This] announcement is a further step in that direction as we re-direct capital and our management capacity to larger scale development opportunities that we believe will generate better long-term returns for the Group."
Consistent with this strategic direction, the Group has also announced it had entered into exclusive arrangements with the Whitgift Foundation (UK) to explore the potential redevelopment of a major retail center at Croydon in south London.
Westfield and the Whitgift Foundation, the freehold owner of the Whitgift shopping center, intend to work together to examine opportunities arising from the retail-led regeneration of the Croydon town center with the same approach adopted in the development of Westfield London and Stratford City.
Croydon is a strategic location in south London close to Gatwick Airport and serves the affluent trade areas of Surrey and Kent as well as parts of Hampshire, East Sussex and West Sussex.
The scheme has the potential to serve over 3 million customers in London and the south east of England. This market is currently underserved by high quality retail and leisure facilities and is well known to be a target market for major retail groups in the UK.
Lowy said Croydon could provide the Group with a significant presence in the south of London, augmenting Westfield's existing centers in the west and east of this major world city.
The redevelopment of Croydon is subject to planning consent and concluding satisfactory agreements with key stakeholders. The Whitgift Foundation has agreed to work exclusively with Westfield with a view to satisfying these requirements.
Source: The Westfield Group