UK-based shopping centre operator Hammerson has decided to postpone its £1.4bn plan to extend the Brent Cross shopping centre in London.
The decision to postpone the plan was due to risks in the current retail climate, which has seen the closure of chains such as Maplin and Toys ’R’ Us while certain retailers such as House of Fraser made moves to reduce their rental bills through creditor voluntary arrangements.
Approximately 15 million people visit the centre, which opened in 1976.
The plan to extend the centre has been in the pipeline for the last ten years but it has been held back.
In a press release, Hammerson stated: “Whilst we have decided to defer the start on site of the scheme, it remains an important strategic project and we continue to recognise its role as one of London’s leading retail destinations.
“It also forms part of the wider Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration plans encompassing improved road and rail infrastructure and significant residential development and we remain engaged with retailers and stakeholders towards the future delivery of the scheme.”
Hammerson chief executive David Atkins said: “By reprioritising our capital deployment and repositioning our portfolio, we will accelerate future shareholder value and returns.”
The project was expected to start this year and to be completed in 2022.
According to Atkins, this project continues to be part of the company’s plans but it is hesitant to invest in the project in the current retail environment.