British Land continue series of acquisitions


British Land has acquired Barnstaple's Green Lanes Shopping Centre for £30 million, just weeks after its £240 million acquisition of Plymouth-based mall Drake Circus.

The development giant has ploughed £330 million into commercial property acquisitions over the last six months, expanding its portfolio of shopping centres to 12.

British Land - whose flagship retail property is the 1.5 million sq ft Meadowhall shopping centre near Sheffield - has also agreed to purchase a 20-acre retail site based in Luton.

Chris Grigg, chief executive of British Land, said, "We've been busy. There have been plenty of buying opportunities at more realistic prices."

The firm has also started work on six new office developments over the last nine months, including the 'Cheesegrater' - the 610,000 sq ft tower in Leadenhall Street - which is being constructed in a joint venture with Oxford Properties.

Work will also begin at the recently acquired Marble Arch House this summer, alongside a major office redevelopment and refurbishment at 199 Bishopsgate, which will be carried out in conjunction with private equity firm Blackstone.

The gross value of British Land's property portfolio rose by 2.3 per cent in the quarter to £9.3 billion, an increase of 13 per cent on a year ago. Alan Carter from Evolution Securities told the Guardian newspaper, "These figures show rising confidence in the marketplace. Capital values for good kit are still rising, and there are signs of a modest rental recovery for good quality retail assets, as well as more obviously in the central London office market."

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