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Clifford Chance advises Hammerson on Croydon joint venture with Westfield

17 January 2013

Clifford Chance advises Hammerson on Croydon joint venture with Westfield

Clifford Chance has advised long-standing client Hammerson plc on a 50:50 joint venture with Westfield to redevelop the Whitgift and Centrale Shopping Centres in Croydon.

Under the new joint venture agreement, Westfield and Hammerson intend to redevelop and combine the two main Croydon shopping centres, the Whitgift Centre and Centrale, to deliver a comprehensive and transformational change to Croydon. The mixed use scheme of around 200,000 m2  will include retail, leisure, residential with the potential for hotels and offices, and will create over 5,000 new jobs.

Hammerson and Westfield have both previously submitted separate plans for the development of the site. This joint venture, which also includes the establishment of a 50:50 joint venture asset management company, will bring together two of the UK's leading owners of shopping malls and create clarity and certainty for the residents and retailers of Croydon.

Clifford Chance Partner and Head of London Real Estate, Jonathan Solomon, led the Clifford Chance team which advised on all real estate, corporate, tax, regulatory, competition and employment aspects of the deal. The team also worked closely with Nabarros, who acted for Hammerson on the sale of the Centrale Shopping Centre to the joint venture, and Herbert Smith, who provided construction advice to Hammerson.

The deal follows Clifford Chance's involvement in advising Hammerson on its recent £254m Junction Fund deal to acquire a portfolio of four shopping parks.

Commenting on the transaction, Jonathan Solomon said:

"This joint venture will be of enormous benefit to Croydon, creating an outstanding development which will transform the town centre into a leading shopping destination and help promote the wider regeneration of the town, and we are delighted that Hammerson elected to work with us on a deal which was of such importance to the company. This was a landmark transaction which played to our strengths in tightly managing and driving through complex multi disciplinary real estate related transactions, with a team of real estate sector specialist lawyers across the various disciplines. We were also pleased to work with Hammerson's other longstanding advisors Nabarros and Herbert Smith on a seamless basis"

Jonathan Solomon was assisted by Real Estate Partner Franc Peña, Senior Real Estate Counsel Sarah Thomas and Senior Associates Matt Taylor, Geraldine Pigot, Simon Gilbert and Sarah Faull. Corporate advice was provided by Senior Associate Robert Hill and Associate Helen Martin. Tax advice was provided by Partner David Saleh, supported by Senior Associate William Reay-Jones and Associate Allegra Feltz. Employment advice was provided by Senior Associate Alastair Windass, Competition advice was provided by Partner Alex Nourry and Associate Christopher Duff and Regulatory advice by Partner James Barlow.

The Nabarro team included Real Estate Partner Simon Staite and Senior Associate Alan Crawford, and the Herbert Smith Freehills team included Construction Partner Nicholas Downing.

Westfield were represented by Corporate Partner Michael Goldberg and Senior Associate David Fitzgerald from SJ Berwin. Tax advice was provided by Tax Partner Colin Hargreaves at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Real Estate advice was provided by Partners Hugh Lumby and Jamie Chapman from Ashurst.

Hammerson is a FTSE 100 real estate company focused on winning retail locations in the UK and France. Its portfolio of high-quality assets is focused on prime shopping centres, convenient retail parks and premium designer outlets, and has a value of over £5 billion.

Hammerson has been creating exciting retail destinations for over 60 years, and aims to be the best owner-manager and developer of retail property in Europe. It is invested in 20 prime shopping centres, 22 convenient retail parks and 9 premium designer outlets. Its centres include Brent Cross, London; Bullring, Birmingham; Italie 2, Paris and Bicester Village, Oxford.