Croydon shopping centres in £1bn regeneration plan

Both developers had been working with the mayor

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Two developers have signed a £1bn deal to regenerate shopping centres in Croydon, promising 5,000 new jobs.

Hammerson and the Australian giant Westfield have entered into a 50/50 joint venture to transform Croydon's Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres.

Subject to planning consent, building work is expected to start on site in 2015.

London mayor Boris Johnson said it would return Croydon to "its former glory".

Westfield has had its eye on the south London town since 2011 when it began talks to revamp the Whitgift Centre.

As part of the joint venture, Westfield has acquired a 50% interest in the £115m Centrale shopping centre from Hammerson.

The joint venture will also purchase a 25% interest in the Whitgift Centre, following completion of Hammerson's conditional acquisition agreement with Royal London, which had a 155-year head lease on it.

'Vibrant town centre'

The mixed use scheme will include retail, leisure and residential units with the potential for hotels and offices.

Hammerson and Westfield plan to meet with stakeholders over the coming weeks to discuss their plans for Croydon.

Both developers had been working with the mayor, in his role leading London's Strategic Planning Authority, and Croydon Council on their respective schemes.

The news follows the mayor's commitment in 2011 to invest £23m towards the regeneration of Croydon town centre following the August 2011 riots.

Croydon is also receiving investment from the mayor's £50m Outer London Fund designed to boost the local economy.

He said: "Croydon has huge potential to return to its former glory as one of London's most vibrant town centres, and a major driver of its economy.

"The redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre at its heart is crucial to this vision.

Frank Lowy, chairman of Westfield, said: "The £1bn redevelopment joint venture with Hammerson will provide certainty for the residents, local businesses and retailers of Croydon and the region."

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