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Westfield mall heralds profit and social change

Australia's Westfield Group (WDC.AX) expects its Stratford City mega-mall at east London's Olympic Park to reshape the deprived area's social fabric, enhancing the 1.45 billion pounds retail venture's future profitability.

"We told the market that we would deliver cash return or initial (development) yield return of 7-7.5 percent. We are still on track for that," said John Burton, the softly-spoken director of Westfield's Stratford City mall.

The 1.9-million square feet shopping centre will become the largest of its type in Europe when it opens on September 13. It already dominates the fast-changing Stratford skyline, acting as a gateway to the Olympic stadium, aquatics centre and velodrome.

Westfield's mall is part of a 700-acre development around the Olympic Park, which includes 2.9 million sq ft of retail and leisure space and 6.6 million sq ft of offices, making it about two-thirds the size of the nearby Canary Wharf business hub. "We think our centre here will be probably in line with the (footfall) numbers we're getting at Westfield London," Burton said, referring to the 23 million visitors its west London mall welcomed in its first year of operation.

At stake, experts said, was not whether Westfield's mall would be profitable, but the level of total returns -- a mix of capital gains and rental income -- it could extract over time against a bleak economic outlook.

The mall's value has already moved higher. Based on Canadian Pension Plan and Dutch asset manager APG buying a half share for about 872 million pounds late in 2010, its value would be about 1.7 billion. Yields on other super-prime UK malls were about 5 percent in second-quarter 2011, property consultancy Savills (SVS.L) said, implying room for a further valuation gain towards 2 billion pounds and, once the mall was established, higher rents.

"We are prepared to negotiate with retailers on RPI (Retail Price Index) or even fixed percentage," Burton said, adding rents were in line with Westfield London, which two analysts said were about 310 pounds per sq ft for Zone A floor space.

To date, about 95 percent of Westfield's tenants are in place, with major anchors John Lewis JLP.UL, Waitrose, and Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) taking a combined 472,000 sq ft, or about a quarter of the available floor space.

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http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/09/07/uk-westfield-stratford-idUKTRE7867S820110907
 

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Developers shortlisted for Olympics site

The UK’s leading property companies are vying for one of London’s largest regeneration projects as developers continue to take advantage of the economic windfall of the Olympic Games.

In a shortlist published on Friday, the London Development Authority will name seven companies that must now tussle for the right to build a 50-acre housing and office project at Silvertown Quays.

Delancey, Stanhope and Berkeley Group, the housebuilder, all appear on the shortlist. British Land, the UK’s second-biggest property company by market capitalisation, has teamed up with Barratt Developments in its bid to secure the project.

The site, which sits to the south-east of the main Olympic park, would be one of London’s largest new-build housing projects, with more than 4,000 units expected. The LDA also hopes the project will lead to the long-awaited regeneration of a deprived corner of the capital.

“The key to this site is Crossrail and the access that it will give,” said Charlie Hart of Knight Frank, which is acting as agent on the sale. “Before now, it has never been so attractive as transport has been limited, but now it can be the residential equivalent to Canary Wharf.”

As well as its access to Crossrail, which is due to open in 2017, the Silvertown site is adjacent to London City airport, the capital’s smallest international airport. Planning permission was first granted to build on the site in 2007 with a development value of more than £1.5bn ($2.4bn), but came with the proviso that any developer build leisure space, including an aquarium, during the first phase of the project.

The permission in its present form is expected to be deemed financially unviable, however, since it was agreed at a time of booming commercial rents and rising house prices.

The development would represent a fillip to Newham, an under-developed area of east London, which ranks as the second most deprived in England, according to the government’s indices of multiple deprivation.

“London is moving east and there is huge potential here for investment, growth and greater prosperity,” said Sir Robin Wales, the mayor of Newham. The Royal Docks are where London’s future essential economic growth can truly thrive. There has never been a better time to invest in the new heart of London.”

The area around the Olympic Games site has seen a surge in development during the past five years, with investors from all over the world looking to make the most of the infrastructure investment in the area. As well as Westfield, Europe’s largest covered shopping centre, there are 11,000 new homes planned during the next 25 years.
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cf5b30be-da2e-11e0-90b2-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1XYXMTBQP
 

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£10m deal makes Stratford City official Olympic shopping mall

Westfield's new Stratford City today became the world's first official Olympic shopping centre in a £10million deal. Europe's largest urban shopping mall will get an Olympic makeover using the London 2012 brand and logo.



Its Australian owners hope the exclusive marketing rights will give the development a boost when it opens next Tuesday.

In return, Games organiser Locog has secured floorspace in the 1.9million sq ft centre which forms a gateway to the Olympic Park. An official merchandise store will open next month and will be crucial to London 2012 reaching its target of raising £80 million through sales of licensed products.

Locog, which will employ 200,000 people at next summer's peak, will also use the mall as an operational and logistics hub by taking over the 3,000-space car park and setting up temporary offices. The mall will also host the official hospitality zone for Team GB. Westfield has handed over cash for part of the deal but the largest part is believed to be "value-in-kind" use of the shopping centre.

Games chiefs commonly sign licensing deals with retail chains but it is thought to be the first time a shopping centre has bought official Olympic status. Three quarters of Olympic spectators will be routed through the mall, passing along the tree-lined Chestnut Plaza before entering security checks.

Separate to the deal, Locog has taken the 600-plus rooms in Stratford City's three hotels, the Holiday Inn, Premier Inn and Stalybridge Rooms. The deal with Westfield takes Locog to its £700million domestic sponsorship target with revenues going towards the £2billion-plus cost of the Games.

Locog chief executive Paul Deighton said: "With Westfield Stratford City on the doorstep of the Olympic Park and set to be a major destination for athletes and spectators alike at Games-time, it is an obvious and perfect fit."

Michael Gutman, managing director for Westfield UK/Europe and New Markets, said: "We are delighted to be extending our relationship with Locog."
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/stand...atford-city-official-olympic-shopping-mall.do
 

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Westfield Stratford City: Transforming the East End

As an appeal to the guilty consciences of consumers it is pretty shameless. "Come and shop in Westfield - you are helping to boost the East End," exhorts the evangelically persuasive mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales. "Shop and do some social good at the same time."

It is a good line, although it seems unlikely the hordes surging into the £1.45billion Stratford City shopping centre for the first time next week will be driven primarily by the desire for urban regeneration. Nevertheless, as London's latest and biggest ever temple to Mammon prepares to throw open its doors at 10am next Tuesday morning, there is no underestimating the vast impact that it will have on the less affluent half of London.

Westfield Stratford City will bring shiny West End brands such as Hugo Boss, Hollister, Fashion Rocks, Forever 21 and good old John Lewis into the heart of the East End.

The finishing touches are being applied now - the Italian and German marble floorings burnished and the gold, silver and bronze lampshades lighting the McDonald's polished up in preparation for the grand opening, marked by a concert from pop star Nicole Scherzinger.

At John Lewis, £150 Kurt Geiger shoes and £550 Raymond Weil watches are being placed in displays ahead of the launch of the partnership's first new department store in London since Kingston in 1990. In the store's Olympic shop overlooking the stadium, 10,000 different lines of Games-related merchandise have been unpacked from boxes.

Seven years after Westfield Stratford City's director John Burton stood on an East End wasteland and wondered if a shopping centre could ever be built there, it is finally ready to go.

Unlike its sister mall in Shepherd's Bush, the arrival of Westfield and its 300 shiny new shops has been almost universally welcomed by locals.

Tessa Gillett, marketing officer at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, two minutes' walk from the mall's entrance, says the launch will transform many Londoners' "mental map" of their own city. "The shopping centre will help people understand how close Stratford is to central London," she says. "It is only 20 minutes from Oxford Circus."

The 2012 Games will provide a six- week burst of global attention for Stratford but long after the Olympic caravan has moved on to Rio, Westfield will carry on attracting visitors to one of London's most overlooked quarters. For many at Newham Town Hall it is the shopping centre rather than the Olympics that is the most prized "win" for the borough.

According to Noel Saunders, managing director of the four-storey John Lewis, the warm response is largely down to the huge efforts taken to give as many of the 10,000 new jobs as possible to the people of Newham. More than 80 per cent of the 1,500 posts at the store are new recruits and half of them are from the borough, where unemployment runs at more than 13 per cent.

Like Westfield London in Shepherd's Bush, which opened in October 2008 as the crunch first bit, Stratford City is being launched against a gloomy economic backdrop.

But with 96 per cent of the 1.9 millionsqft of retail space already let, the mall - and the Stratford area - has been given the biggest possible vote of confidence by the retail world. And not just retailers. Around it are 70 places to eat and drink - the biggest collection under one roof in Europe - three hotels with a total of 617 rooms, Britain's biggest casino, open later in the year, a 17-screen cinema and, after the Olympics, 5 million sqft of office space and 16,400 homes.

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http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/stand...d-stratford-city-transforming-the-east-end.do
 

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Olympic Park to get own EV charging network

Electric vehicles (EVs) used to transport athletes during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be able to make use of a dedicated charging network.

Once the event is over, Transport for London notes that the facility will be integrated into Mayor Boris Johnson's Source London framework of charge points.

Power will be supplied by EDF Energy and will be used to fuel the 200 BMW and Mini EVs that will make up the Games' zero-carbon fleet of transport, during what is hoped will be the most sustainable Olympics to ever take place.

Mr Johnson announced the plans ahead of opening EcoVelocity, the largest low-carbon motor festival in Europe.

Taking place from today (September 8th) to September 11th, the event at Battersea Power Station will showcase a range of green vehicles.

Source London already has more than 200 charge points and plans are in place to install 1,300 of the devices by 2013.
http://www.trl.co.uk/trl-news-hub/t...-to-get-own-ev-charging-network_800722856.htm
 

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East London: First Out of the blocks

The scale of the work going on to transform Stratford into an Olympic hub becomes apparent only when you're up really close. Factories, railway yards, derelict slices of scrubland and allotments have all given themselves up to be turned into the Olympic Park.

This run-down portion of east London is changing profoundly – and rapidly. And its property scene is too. But it's not just the Zaha Hadid Aquatics Centre and all the other sports stadiums that are transforming the area. It's the Docklands Light Railway extension, the parks, the new flats and the giant Westfield Stratford City shopping centre.

The mall – the largest urban example in Europe, which came it at just a shade under a cool £1.5bn – opens next Tuesday. Between then and next August, the site will slowly be unwrapped, like a present in a game of pass the parcel.

But what effect will all this change have on the local property market? And is there perhaps somewhat less Olympic lustre than some people would like us to believe?

Renting

"Tenants will be attracted by jobs, rail connections, local shops and quality of life," says lettings expert David Lawrenson of www.lettingfocus.com. But Lawrenson is not entirely convinced by everything that's going in Stratford right now.

"New rail lines and regeneration are good, but big shopping centres just seem to bring traffic, kill off local shops and hence communities," he says. Perhaps the Games don't have quite the ability to push Stratford as far forward as has been suggested? Lawrenson thinks not: "I'd expect a price drop-off. I'm a big sceptic. In previous Olympics most of the stadiums seemed half empty.It's not real sport – not like football and rugby."

Some have suggested that the Olympics could bring in a surge of people wanting short-term lets during the Games. But those people might not come. And even if they do, will landlords be bothered by the hassle of organising short-term lets? "Our landlords do not want to risk void periods and incur the cost of purchasing all the furnishings for short-term lets," says Daniel Schulz at David Daniels & Co in Stratford.

Schulz has noticed a change in rental values. "Rents have risen drastically for the past couple of years due to a lack of landlords buying properties to rent out," he says. Would Lawrenson advise people to take a punt on purchasing buy-to-let property in Stratford? "Not at the moment, as I'd imagine there is lots of hype in the pricing of everything there," he says.

But Keatons' Nick Verdi would encourage buy-to-let investors: "There are very few areas that are going to change as dramatically and as rapidly as the immediate area around the Olympic Park. Once completed, I'm confident that we will see a huge demand for this location. However, I would also add that the gains will be seen much longer term, over say a five to 10-year period."

Another unique factor in the so-called Olympic legacy is the massive complex of flats that will house the athletes next August, before being released as – mostly – rentals after the Games.

Triathlon Homes bought 1,379 properties in 2009 for £268m and some will be made available as social housing or for key workers. "The homes in the village will be of the highest quality. A mix of tenures and home types will help to ensure that a broad range of residents on a variety of incomes are catered for," says Triathlon's executive director Geoff Pearce.

Last month Delancey and Qatari Diar snapped up 2,818 flats in the Athletes' Village for £557m. Again, many will be rented out. That joint deal also allows for the building of 2,000 further homes in the Olympic Park. Isn't this all a bit too much?

"The Athletes' Village is a unique proposition for London. It will, I believe, take a number of years for all these units to be absorbed into the market," says Marcus Dixon, associate director of residential research at Savills.

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http://www.independent.co.uk/life-s...t-london-first-out-of-the-blocks-2351542.html
 

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westfield is like a wal mart? we find all the things we need? because it's possible that in my next visit in london we could need some foods elements.
If I understand your question right - no - its a mall. With lots of shops. A giant shopping centre. It has food shops, but I wouldnt go out of your way to visit for just food. If you do go though - take some photos of the park and share them here!
 

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^^:applause:

Handelsman buys 2012 Olympic luxury tower site

Harry Handelsman’s Manhattan Loft Corporation has bought a site directly to the north east of the Olympic Stadium for a luxury 42-storey hotel and flats development, CoStar News can reveal.

MLC, the company credited with introducing New York-style loft living to the UK, has bought the 0.7-acre site - plot N24 within zone 3 of the 180-acre Stratford City masterplan - from Channel Tunnel Rail Link builder London & Continental Railways for an undisclosed sum

The company has been working in partnership with LCR on a SOM Architects-designed scheme comprising 248 high-rise apartments alongside a circa 150-bed hotel on the lower floors and a restaurant on the seventh floor. The scheme, which the pair's special purpose vehicle Stratford Heights Investments has described as the "most exciting mixed-use hotel development in Europe”, overlooks Westfield’s £1.45bn Stratford City shopping centre.

LCR and MLC want to emulate the succes of their previous joint redevelopment of the Midland Grand hotel at St Pancras, NW1 on land fronting Stratford International Station.

In December 2011, the Olympic Delivery Authority resolved to grant permission for the plans subject to completion of a section 106 agreement, which includes a £1m payment to Newham council funding between six and seven intermediate units on-site or 23 intermediate sites off-site.

LCR and Manhattan Loft Corporation both confirmed to CoStar News that MLC had now bought the site but declined to discuss the price or how the deal was structured. The Department of Transport has confirmed Channel Tunnel Rail Link builder LCR’s future following the £2bn sale of CTRL – now called High Speed 1 – to Canadian pension funds Borealis Infrastructure and Ontario Teachers' Pension at the end of last year.

There are two remaining parts of the business, which was set up in 1996 to build CTRL - a 40% stake in Eurostar, which could be sold, and the property arm. Since 2008 and the completion of High Speed 1 successive governments have been considering the future for the business.

David Joy, chief executive, London & Continental Railways, said that the focus for the next two to three years will be a possible Eurostar sale and creating a “clean” property business, which can then either be sold or held for the long-term purely as a property company.
http://www.costar.co.uk/en/assets/news/2011/September/Handelsmann-buys-Olympic-luxury-tower-site/
 
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