If there is one good thing that came out of the London riots in 2011, it was the chance to rebuild – to start again and to fix the searing image that had tarnished the town of Croydon in the eyes of the world. Now it seems that there may be a chance to transform the “concrete and soulless grime into a shiny, sparkling, vibrant destination of 2018.”
As reported by The Australian, global property developer Westfield Group (ASX: WDC) had been maintaining a close eye on Croydon for more than a decade, due to its premier transport links to the south and southwest areas of London and directly into the city centre itself.
It seems that the riots provided the company with the perfect opportunity to act on its instincts to begin the transformation. Westfield’s director of development John Burton confirmed that the company would be injecting £2 million over the course of the next few years, which will be spread over the 2-million-square-foot development of Croydon, as well as a 550,000-square-foot extension at Shepherds Bush. The latter will include restaurants, offices and 1500 homes.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said, “Croydon has huge potential to return to its former glory as one of London’s most vibrant town centres, and a major driver of its economy.” Johnson regards the Croydon development as the most significant since the Olympic Games and expects that thousands of jobs could be created as a result.
In regards to the Croydon investment, Burton said, “Our developments here stand out against the rest of the market because they come as the others stop development.” The moves being undertaken by Westfield reflect the corporation’s focus on the long-term by only investing in properties it believes will deliver outstanding results.
In comparison, it seems that other developers take a short-term perspective, dismissing the area as doomed and not worthy of investment.
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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.