Canary Wharf’s shopping malls boost Songbird Estates

Kasmira Jefford
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The bank-heavy docklands area is turning into more than just a financial district
Songbird Estates, the listed property giant behind London’s Canary Wharf Group, said the value of its shopping centres had reached a record £1bn in the first half of the year as the company pushed ahead with a new mall above its planned Crossrail station.
The company is building 115,000 square feet of retail space above the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station and has already secured 90 per cent of lettings ahead of its launch in May, three years before the stat­ion’s opening.
The scheme, with the recent extension of Jubilee Place shopping centre at the heart of Can­ary Wharf, helped lead to a 8.4 per cent jump in the value of Song­bird’s property portfolio to £6.3bn in the six months to 30 June.
Its net asset value per share rose by 10 per cent to £3.19 com­pared with £2.90 at 31 Dec­em­ber 2013.
Canary Wharf is trying to shake off its image as an office district by introducing more retail and leisure activities to draw people into the area at the weekends.
It is also moving into residential and plans to build 3,100 homes to the east of the estate in an area known as Wood Wharf.
Canary Wharf’s chairman Sir George Iacobescu said: “The period has marked our evolution into a fully-fledged diversified developer and builder encompas­sing infrastructure, office, resid­ent­ial and retail space as well as cementing our status as a creator of communities and places where people and businesses want to be.”
He added that the group continued to see strong overseas investment demand, after selling 10 Upper Bank Street for £795m in June to insurer China Life.

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