Westfield is steaming ahead again at its 1.9m sq ft Stratford City shopping centre.
Today it confirms that the centre opposite the Olympic Park in Stratford will open for business on 13 September of this year.
As expected the Australian developer is extremely bullish on all fronts – London’s largest casino will open at the site too, despite the threat of a judicial review still hovering over this part of the site.
Alongside this is the story in today’s Times, first broken by Real Estate Capital last week, that confirms that Westfield is in talks with underwriting banks to raise debt of £545m against the £871m stake it retains in the £1.8bn scheme.
Basically, Westfield, in selling a half stake in the centre – which cost £1.4bn to build – last year and now raising debt on the remainder, has already made its money back on one of the most challenging developments in the UK and is primed to push on elsewhere at the site and across the country.
Real Estate Capital says Eurohypo and Credit Agricole CIB are among the lenders being lined up for a scheme that still needs to find another 15% of tenants.
It is the largest commercial property loan since the credit crisis and, on that level at least, testament to the power of the improved transport and infrastructure brought to Stratford over the past decades as well as Westfield’s success in getting on and delivering into a market starved of major completed investment products to lend against.