Victoria Gate Interest Reflects UK Retail Rebound

Posted on 11 November, 2014 by Cliff Goodwin

With completion not expected until 2016, the developer behind Leeds’ Victoria Gate project says the £150m retail complex is already one-third let.


Work started in April on the Hammerson-backed scheme, to include one of the largest John Lewis stores outside of London at 265,000sq ft, with the official opening for the “aspirational development” already set for next autumn.

“This multi-million pound development is now over a third let and we are encouraged by the interest from premium brands that have identified Victoria Gate as a key retail destination within their future store portfolio,” said Hammerson’s chief executive David Atkins In an interim management statement.

Part of a wider £650m regeneration of the city’s former Harewood and Eastgate Quarters, the Victoria Gate arcade will offer 30 retail units, restaurants, cafes and leisure facilities. There will also be a casino and a multi-storey car park for up to 800 cars. The project is expected to generate up to 1,000 jobs.

Interest in Victoria Gate, adjacent to Leeds’ leading luxury retail destination at Victoria Quarter, matched a growing improvement in “consumer and occupier market conditions” in Britain, Atkins added, although his firm’s operations in France remained “subdued but stable”.

Hammerson — which operates across continental Europe with operations in France, Spain and Germany — has witnessed sales at its British shopping centres rise by 2.6 per cent, while figures for France fell by 2.8 per cent.

“Earlier in the year we saw signs of improvement in the UK retail market and since then we have experienced further growth in retailer sales, tenant demand and rental values in our winning retail locations,” his statement said.

Atkins also hailed both the acquisition of the remaining 40 per cent stake in the Highcross shopping centre, in Leicester, and a successful share placing among Hammerson’s other July to November highlights.

“Our investment activity during that period demonstrates our ambition to accelerate future growth which will be further enhanced by our extensive development pipeline where we have continued to make good progress,” he explained.

“We completed a successful share placing, raising proceeds of £399m before expenses, which were principally used to acquire the remaining interest in Highcross in Leicester, to make further investments in the fast-growing outlet sector, and provide additional capital for our development pipeline.”

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