Westfield seals deal to buy Hammerson out of town centre

No more: the Croydon ‘Partnership’ was always an uneasy relationship

Westfield’s parent company has this afternoon confirmed that they have bought out Hammerson, the owners of the Centrale shopping centre, from their half-share of the Croydon Partnership, the joint venture which has inflicted a decade’s worth of development blight on the town centre with their £1.4billion non-development of Croydon’s Whitgift Centre.

Inside Croydon reported that such a deal was in the offing last week.

The announcement came on the same day that beleaguered Hammerson held their annual general meeting.

Property specialists have speculated that the deal will be worth “tens of millions” of pounds – a severe comedown for Hammerson, but inevitable for at least four years, since the French Unibail takeover of Westfield and the removal of Croydon from their development “pipeline”.

Shopping centre operators Hammerson have been hard hit by the shift in retail habits and the covid lockdown, and have been selling as many of their shopping centres as they can find buyers for. Their presence at the negotiation table, without being able to contribute much to any development, had for some time been seen as a break on any progress.

Responding to the news, Croydon’s part-time Mayor, Jason Perry, announced he was going to reconvene a committee. Which is nice.

In a statement issued by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, Scott Parsons, URW’s UK chief operating officer, said, “We’re excited to continue the progress of the Croydon development”, as if there had ever been any “progress” in the project.

Excited: URW’s Scott Parsons

He called Croydon, “London’s next major and most exciting regeneration zone”.

Comparing Croydon to Stratford and White City, where Westfield have built other large shopping centres, Parsons said, “Completion of this purchase further demonstrates our commitment to regeneration in the capital.

“We look forward to creating the new masterplan in partnership with the community and local stakeholders in Croydon to realise the future vision for the town centre to become a thriving destination in south London.”

So that will be planning application No3, to go with the expensively assembled CPO and the previous planning inspector inquiry.

Under the deal, URW is acquiring a 25-acre parcel of the town centre which includes “the Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres as well as high street retail frontage, office blocks and multi-storey car parks in the heart of the designated GLA Opportunity Area in south London”.

Jean-Marie Tritant, Paris-based URW’s CEO, said: “We are very excited about what can be achieved in Croydon.

“With our full ownership of the property, it allows URW to work in partnership with the Mayor of Croydon, the Greater London Authority and other vital local stakeholders on a vision and options that support the wider transformation of the area.”

Read more: Centrale’s owners set to sell-up to Westfield in cut-price deal
Read more: Crisis for Croydon as Westfield ‘reviews’ its £1.4bn scheme
Read more: Westfield scale down plans, leaving Croydon a ‘dead duckling’
Read more: Mary Portas, Westfield, Bradford and a £1bn hole in the ground

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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10 Responses to Westfield seals deal to buy Hammerson out of town centre

  1. Sally Dawson says:

    Let’s cut to the quick. The new sole owner has bugger all intention of developing a sizeable shopping complex.

    His target is rabbit hutch housing and dog kennel offices – anything else Scott Parsons says unadulterated bullshit.

  2. Hockney Wilkinson says:

    These news coming to against all bad news on last 12 months rather than nothing to do, and everything gone down , just like this moment much more shops keeping to close again and again, attracting more and more drug dealers, begging people, homeless and buggers around that area with some yob murder cases or stabbed cases. It carrys out the future of almost new buildings or refurbished buildings and some people with higher moral standards, and also push up the economy of Croydon.

  3. Wylie Laing says:

    Regeneration will be the multiple modernised development whatever in the development of culture, office commerce, entertainment, retail business, residence, etc. More and more people living in and working in the redevelopment area, it will be obtained more residents and office or shop employees to be customers and restaurant guests supporting the business of the new shopping mall / complex.

  4. Ian Kierans says:

    It will be interesting to see what they come up with. The one worrying thing is the comment of working with the Mayor of Croydon. Does anyone know which one they are thinking of – Part time or ceremonial?

    Not that it matters the end result is the same!

  5. This is good news. It’s an effing relief. As Margaret might have said, “give thanks. Rejoice”

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