Westfield will revive construction works on its £260m Bradford Broadway development next month and has completed the sale of its interest to retail real estate investment manager Meyer Bergman.
The 570,000 sq ft shopping centre will feature a 106,000 sq ft Debenhams department store and a 63,000 sq ft Marks & Spencer as anchor retailers, along with 70 additional shops, restaurants and cafes, including major high street retailers Next, River Island and Topshop.
Bradford Broadway has been subject to stop-start problems since construction began in 2004 and attracted around 30 protesters last year who camped on the building site to urge Westfield to restart work.
The shopping centre, which will create about 2,500 new retail jobs for Bradford, could be finished in time for the Christmas shopping period in 2015.
Michael Gutman, Westfield Managing Director UK/Europe and New Markets commented: “Westfield is delighted to announce the start of construction having remained steadfastly committed to delivering the Bradford development following cessation of work in 2008 as a result of the global financial crisis.
Markus Meijer, CEO of Meyer Bergman said: “This is a very important scheme for a vibrant and ambitious city that has one of the fastest growing populations in the U.K.”
The news comes as Westfield, who own four UK shopping centres, posted a 4.5 per cent rise in group sales for the first half of 2013. The group has enjoyed recent success in the UK, particularly in its Stratford centre where sales surged 7.3 per cent in H1 of 2013.
Global property consultancy Knight Frank says in its Q4 shopping centre report that the shopping centre investment market is poised for solid growth in 2014.