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Laing O'Rourke hit by delay to £1.4bn Brent Cross start date

Hammerson has delayed Laing O’Rourke’s start date for the £1.4bn extension and refurbishment of Brent Cross shopping centre beyond 2019.

In a half-year update released this morning, the shopping centre owner said the development at the north-west London site was being deferred due to “increased risks in the current market environment”.

It added: “The scheme remains an important strategic project and we continue to recognise its role as one of London’s leading retail destinations and will support its future success.”

Laing O’Rourke beat Multiplex and Sir Robert McAlpine to be named preferred contractor last October for the £700m construction package, and was expected to start on site this year.

A spokesman for Hammerson said the company would “monitor external market conditions” and confirm a new start date “when conditions are appropriate”.

In its results for the six months to 30 June, Hammerson revealed it would sell off £1.1bn of assets by the end of 2019.

This will include out-of-town shopping centres, as the company looks to concentrate on its city centre and premium shopping outlets.

The Hammerson board has been forced to overhaul the business after shareholders criticised its rejection of a £5bn takeover bid from French company Klepierre in April.

Hammerson also pulled out of a planned £3.4bn takeover of real estate investment trust Intu in April.

Laing O’Rourke declined to comment.

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