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New River plots homes above shopping centres

Shopping centre owner and manager New River REIT says it has the potential to create 1,300 residential units adjacent to or above its shopping centres and retail parks over the next five to ten years.

The company has a portfolio of 8 million sq ft of retail and leisure space in the UK, spanning 34 shopping centres including The Ridings Shopping Centre in Wakefield, Priory Meadow in Hastings and Broadway Shopping Centre in Bexleyheath, 22 retail warehouses, 14 high street units and 692 pubs.

Chief executive Allan Lockhart said the company is looking into opportunities to unlock further value, including proposals to develop new homes at its sites. He added the company is also sheltered from some of the more challenging areas in UK retail at the moment, as its focus is on convenience and value clothing, rather than department stores.

“Our portfolio is focused on the fastest-growing and most-sustainable sub-sectors of the UK retail market, with grocery, convenience stores, value clothing, health and beauty and discounters forming the core of our retail portfolio, and a deliberately limited exposure to department stores of just 0.1% of our total rent roll.”

For example, Primark is poised to open at New River’s Priory Meadow shopping centre in Hastings this summer, replacing BHS at the site. The value retailer is also moving into the former BHS store at New River’s The Abbey Centre in Newtownabbey in Belfast, upsizing from its previous site at the centre.

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