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BL buys major Woolwich retail estate for £103m

By Paul Norman - Friday, February 09, 2018 10:02

British Land has bought the Woolwich Estate, covering 4.9 acres in south east London, for a headline price of £103m from Mansford Property representing a net initial yield of 4.1%.

BL said the acquisition is in line with its strategy of focusing on "well-connected, mixed use assets which meet the evolving needs of our occupiers and their customers".

It said it builds on its portfolio of places benefitting from the Elizabeth Line, including Broadgate, Paddington Central and Ealing Broadway, and provides "significant potential to drive growth and returns through our placemaking, asset management and development expertise".

BL added: "It makes an exciting addition to our existing portfolio of Local retail centres, which provide convenience-led shopping for local communities."

The Woolwich estate covers 360,000 sq ft in central Woolwich. Predominantly retail, it includes over 50,000 sq ft of residential and 3,000 sq ft of offices.

The Elizabeth Line launches from Woolwich in December 2018 reducing journey times to Canary Wharf and Bond Street to 8 and 22 minutes respectively.

To coincide with this, 6,000 new homes have been built or are in the pipeline. The estate is 95% occupied, with an average lease length of under four years, and average rent of £17 per sq ft, providing British Land with an opportunity to strengthen the offer and mix in line with the improving catchment.

Charles Maudsley, Head of Retail, Leisure & Residential at British Land, said: "This acquisition provides a unique opportunity to create a thriving retail-anchored centre, benefitting from a mix of uses in an exciting, increasingly well connected and rapidly regenerating part of London. We have a long term vision for the estate which will deliver space that works for retailers and their customers; which generates clear benefits for local communities and drives value for British Land.

"Across our London campuses and our multi-let retail properties, we have developed a clear and distinct advantage in managing mixed use environments with development potential, and in enhancing and enlivening our space through placemaking. This acquisition plays very well to those skills."

The Woolwich Estate comprises 56 retail units and has footfall of 6m. BL said it benefits from an improving local demographic with over 40% of residents falling within the top three most affluent groups, per CACI consumer classification. Coinciding with the arrival of the Elizabeth Line, Greenwich Council are investing £31m to deliver a new "Creative District" which will transform five historic buildings into theatre and concert space, with offices and restaurants.

Knight Frank advised British Land. Morgan Williams and Michael Elliott advised Mansford.

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