JLL appointed to find Whitgift development partner

By Helen Roxburgh - Thursday, December 15, 2011 12:36

Royal London Asset Management has appointed Jones Lang LaSalle to find a potential development partner for Croydon’s Whitgift Centre, as the ongoing row continues around Westfield’s attempts to take control of the mall.

Long-leaseholders RLAM and the Whitgift Trust have been vocal in their opposition to Westfield’s involvement in Croydon, despite the Australian developer saying it had entered into an exclusive arrangement to redevelop the centre in November. 

In a statement today Royal London said: “JLL will approach a number of potential partners, each of which will be invited to submit proposals for the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre, one of London’s largest retail and mixed-use premises.

“The final decision will be announced in Q1 2012 based on the ability of the successful partner to redevelop and manage the centre in the best interests of all stakeholders.”

Westfield announced in November that it had entered into an exclusive arrangement with freeholder the Whitgift Foundation to bring forward the long-awaited redevelopment of the mall.

The leaseholders have since argued that they were not consulted on the deal with Westfield before it was announced, and said theywanted to explore other possibilities.

The complex ownership of the mall sees RLAM and the Whitgift Trust (controlled by the Irish Bank Resolution Corp) as the long leaseholders of the site, while the Whitgift Foundation charity owns the freehold and a remaining 25% stake in the long leasehold.

Westfield is also understood to be interesting in buying a stake in the leasehold ownership.

The shopping centre is 41 years old and is anchored by Marks & Spencer and Allders with other tenants including River Island, Clas Ohlson, H&M, Topshop, J. Sainsbury, Mothercare and Waterstones.

Vale Retail and Jones Lang LaSalle advise the Whitgift Foundation on the leasing for the retail at the centre; Savills and Stiles Harold Williams advise on the offices.

Westfield declined to comment.

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