Retail landlord eyes homes on and near London shopping centres


apital & Regional is looking at creating homes across underused parts of is London shopping centre sites, from loading bays to car parks, agreeing a partnership with a residential developer.

Rental homes are already set for on or next to the landlord’s Walthamstow mall, and chief executive Lawrence Hutchings today told the Evening Standard the firm wants to see how it “accelerates the exploration of what residential potential” its other sites have in the capital.

He said that may possibly include homes on top of a existing site, and on parts of a loading bay or car park. Any work would require planning consent.

The company, which also has centres in Wood Green and Ilford, has signed an exclusivity agreement with a subsidiary of Far East Consortium International, a developer with projects in the UK, Asia and Australia.

The pair will look at scope for homes, assess where some retail might be added to FEC’s existing portfolio and pipeline, “as well as seek new projects where the collective expertise and resources of the partnership could be utilised”.

Chris Hoong at FEC said: “We sincerely believe that our interests are aligned and that we can add significant value to each other.”

Hutchings said: “We acknowledge retail is changing… we believe the future is about sustainable mixed use development.”

As at June the value of Capital & Regional’s total property portfolio was £482.7 million, a 7.5% decline from December.

In the half year to June it saw a number of retailers have to temporarily close stores for lockdowns.

But Hutchings pointed to some encouraging trends, and said: “Footfall at our community centres has once again significantly outperformed the wider market with a noticeable trend of consumers spending more and visiting slightly less.”

The boss added: “We have continued to see strong levels of leasing throughout the entire first half, with volumes comparable with H1 2019, supported by our increased focus on new, start up and independent retailers.”

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