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British Land outlines development plans

Developer British Land has reported significant increases in investment activity with £1.9 billion of developments and acquisitions in 2010.

In a statement to the City, the firm said it had obtained detailed planning consent for a major refurbishment at 199 Bishopsgate and reported plans “are well under way” to create a new 4,200 sq m leisure destination at the Glasgow Fort Shopping Park.

Negotiations to move a major cinema operator into the development are close to concluding and the developer is in talks with a number of major retailers.

In the last three months of 2010 British Land committed £330 million to acquisitions which included the £240m purchase of Drake Circus hopping centre in Plymouth. The firm also announced this morning it has exchanged contracts for the purchase of Green Lanes Shopping Centre in Barnstable for £30m.

The firm now has the largest development programme in central London with construction underway at three of its six major sites. The developments, which are set to increase the weighting of its offices portfolio from 32 per cent to nearly 40 per cent, include a new 65,000 sq m building for UBS at Broadgate; the 55,000 sq m Cheesegrater and the 45,000 sq m NEQ building which will complete the Regent’s Place estate in the West End.

Demolition and ground works are expected to start later this year for the £59m redevelopment of Marble Arch House, purchased last month. The building will be completed by mid-2013.

In the final three months of 2010 British Land saw pre-tax profit grow by 10 per cent, up to £64m and the value of its portfolio grow by 2.3 per cent to £9.3bn – a 13.1 per cent increase over 12 months.

Chief executive Chris Grigg said: This is a strong financial performance from British Land which reflects the good progress we have made right across the business during what has been a busy quarter. We continued to outperform the IPD benchmark and delivered good growth in income, valuation and NAV.

“Looking forward, while the UK recovery is likely to be muted, British Land is well placed to benefit from occupier and investor demand for high quality space in retail and central London offices coupled with an increase in acquisition opportunities at more realistic prices.”

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