Investor confidence sparks shopping mall building boom

Kasmira Jefford
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THE NUMBER of shopping centres under development between now and 2018 has grown to 9.6m square feet, according to figures by DTZ, thanks to improving retail sales and growing institutional investor demand.

A report released by the property advisory firm yesterday showed there are nine schemes under construction and due to open in the remainder of this year, totalling around 1.8m sq ft.

The biggest of these is Westfield Bradford, which has been forward sold to European investment firm Dutch Meyer Bergman and spans 570,000 sq ft. Others include Friar’s Walk shopping centre in Newport and Grand Central in Birmingham, which was put up for sale by the city council in March.

The pipeline stands at 9.6m sq ft to 2018 and jumps to 15.9m sq ft when looking at all schemes to 2021, including those that may not necessarily go ahead.

DTZ’s head of retail development, John Percy, said 2015 is “already turning into an exciting year for shopping centre projects”.

He added: “The outlook for retail property development is improving as investor risk appetite moves outward and the size of the pipeline is testament to this.”