Westfield Group receives green light for UK Croydon centre

Global shopping-centre giant Westfield Group (ASX: WDC) and its joint venture partner Hammerson (a UK property group) have received the final planning consent for the £1 billion ($1.83 billion) redevelopment of the Whitgift centre at Croydon, located in South London.

The Croydon redevelopment will prove to be one of the world’s largest redevelopments, where it is planned that as many as 600 new homes and a leisure centre will be added. In addition, the developers have agreed to invest in Croydon’s transport networks, the improvement of nearby highways, new lighting and environmental improvements as well as additional bus and tram services.

The local government granted the groups the required approval, stating that “the economy is on the up – the timing just couldn’t be better”. London Mayor Boris Johnson has also praised the two companies’ efforts, saying in November that he had begun seeing rejuvenation in other parts of London as a result of their efforts and that Croydon could once again become a “major driver of (the local) economy”.

While local residents will be major beneficiaries of the redevelopment, it will also likely act as a booster on the shopping-centre giant’s earnings when it opens for business. Sales continue to strengthen throughout its UK centres, where it is also planning the expansion of its Westfield London centre. Plans for the expansion received a significant boost last year following the decision of John Lewis to open a full-line, multi-level department store at the mall which would act as a huge attraction to customers.

Foolish takeaway

Should Westfield’s proposal to split its domestic and international stores receive shareholder approval, the Croydon store would form part of the newly formed Westfield Corporation, while its domestic assets would be merged with Westfield Retail Trust’s (ASX: WRT) to form the new Scentre Group.

The top ASX pick you've never heard of...

Top Motley Fool analysts just identified their #1 ASX pick for 2014, a small-cap stock that could be poised for big gains (and offers a fat, fully franked dividend!). Discover all the details now, including the name and code, in this FREE investment report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014."

Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.