Australian real estate company Westfield Group has today announced plans to make Croydon the home of its third major shopping centre in London.
Having first built Westfield London in the west of the city and followed this by opening Westfield Stratford in the north-east of London in September this year, the property firm is now working with the Whitgift Foundation to establish a presence in the south of the capital.
Whitgift is the freehold owner of the Whitgift shopping centre and other investment properties in Croydon and is now discussing the possibility with Westfield of constructing a major retail scheme in the town as part of a wider regeneration initiative.
Being close to Gatwick Airport and the affluent commuter belt counties of Surrey and Kent, Croydon has significant potential as a shopping hub and Westfield estimates that the development could attract around three million customers from London and the south-east of England.
Michael Gutman, Managing Director of Europe and New Markets at Westfield, said: “There is the potential for a major retail scheme in this strategic market which has been identified in the past by the John Lewis Partnership as a possible key location, and the GLA and the local authorities have very high aspirations to implement a major retail scheme and the regeneration of the town centre.
“Westfield and the Whitgift Foundation will seek a constructive dialogue with all the key stakeholders over the coming weeks and months to seek to bring this much anticipated project to fruition.”
Opening to much fanfare earlier this year, Westfield Stratford City is widely seen as showcasing some of the biggest and most popular retailers in the UK in a dynamic and innovative environment, allowing household names such as Marks & Spencer and John Lewis to create concept customer offerings.
The investment plans will come as good news to residents and business in Croydon, which was one of the worst affected areas in the UK-wide riots this summer with many shops looted & damaged and the House of Reeves furniture store razed to the ground following an arson attack.
Ian Harley, Whitgift’s Chairman of the Court of Governors, commented: “The Whitgift Foundation… has been working for many years to help bring about much needed improvements to the town centre.
“The Foundation welcomes this agreement to work in partnership with Westfield and other key stakeholders to secure a major new investment in retail centre of Croydon which is not only intended to achieve much needed improvements to the Whigift shopping centre but also help bring about the regeneration of the town centre generally.”