50 per cent of prime shopping mall on the block but Allders site still in contention
Arlington Property Investors has put its 50 per cent stake in Croydon's Whitgift Shopping Centre up for sale, with a£200 million price tag. Arlington manages the centre on behalf of the Whitgift Shopping Centre Partnership, a consortium of investors, and has instructed Colliers CRE to market its interest at a time when demand for prime shopping centres is strong.

The centre has 120 stores, including Marks & Spencer, Allders, Boots and Bhs. However, the sale does not include the Allders anchor store, which is owned on a long lease by property company Minerva and sub-let to the department store group. A number of rival operators, including John Lewis Partnership, have expressed an interest in taking over the Allders lease if a buyer is not found for the business as a going concern today.

However, the Whitgift Shopping Centre Partnership, along with the owners of the remaining 50 per cent stake - the Whitgift Foundation and Royal London Mutual Insurance Society - have other plans for the Allders site. They are promoting a 320,000 sq ft (29,730 sq m) extension to the centre, named Bishops Court. This would involve redeveloping Allders to create a new 150,000 sq ft (13,935 sq m) department store. A public inquiry into the planning application kicked off on January 25.

A more detailed analysis on this deal will appear in the Febuary 11 issue of Retail Week