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4 NEWS ... In brief Westfield buys in Croydon

UGL poised to buy DTZ Troubled global property services group DTZ has announced a major step forward in the formal sale process which began on 19 October 2011 following the collapse of an earlier bid backed by BNP Paribas. The Australian FM company UGL has been selected as preferred bidder for the company and now has until 6 December 2011 to make a formal offer. A potential combination of DTZ and UGL could create one of the world’s largest real-estate services operations.

New name for Bluewater’s Events Venue

Lend Lease has announced that The Events Venue at Bluewater is to be re-named Glow, Bluewater. The news follows the announcement that the £60m development is to open with its first show on November 30 this year. Glow consists of 56,000 sq ft of flexible events space containing two halls and a 4,800-sq ft private gallery.

St Modwen launches final phase of Wembley Central St. Modwen has submitted a planning application for the final phase of its £90m Wembley Central scheme to the London Borough of Brent. The proposals include an 86-bedroom (35,000-sq ft) Travelodge hotel with a bar/restaurant, 29,000 sq ft of additional retail space, 38 private apartments and an improved entrance to Wembley Central’s tube and train station. Subject to planning consent, St. Modwen aims to start construction during the first half of 2012 with the final phase of shops and the new hotel trading by 2013.

Weeks after the opening of Westfield Stratford City, Westfield has started the ball rolling on a third major London scheme by acquiring the development rights to the Whitgift Centre site in Croydon, south London. The developer confirmed to

the Australian Stock Exchange that it had entered into an exclusive arrangement with freehold owner, the Whitgift Foundation, to “examine opportunities arising from the retail-led regeneration of Croydon town centre with the

same approach adopted in the development of Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.” Co-chief executive Steven

Lowy said Croydon “could provide the group with a significant presence in the south of London, augmenting Westfield’s existing centres in the east and west of this major world city.” John Lewis has already earmarked Croydon as a target location, in the ill-fated Park Place scheme next to the Whitgift Centre, and the local authority is keen to see its retail facilities

upgraded. But development of the site

will depend on Westfield reaching agreement with the leaseholders Royal London Asset Management and Howard Holdings with its backer Anglo Irish Bank.. As one new development

opportunity emerges, Westfield has walked away from another. It has agreed to sell its 75 per

cent stake in the Broadmarsh Centre in Nottingham to Capital Shopping Centres, although its joint venture partner Possfund has the right to pre-empt the deal.

Best Buy closes UK ‘Big Box’ stores

Best Buy Europe, the joint venture between Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy, is to close all 11 of its UK ‘Big Box’ trial stores.

Carphone Warehouse said the

stores, in Merry Hill, Aintree, Derby, Rotherham, Nottingham, Thurrock, Hedge End, Croydon, Hayes, Bristol and Enfield, have delivered exceptional customer satisfaction scores. But it conceded they “do not have the national reach to achieve scale and brand economies”.

The company admitted it had

already lost almost £10m per store - £62m in the year ended 31 March 2011 and £47m in the six months to 30 September 2011. It said: “In light of the existing


run rate of losses and the lack of visibility of an acceptable rate of return on historical and future potential investment, the decision has been taken to close these stores, subject to employee representative consultation. Best Buy Europe intends to

close the stores by the end of the

calendar year, and it expects the closure process to cost it another £25m to £30m, on top of asset write downs which are expected to be approximately £40m to £45m. The focus now is to expand

the range of products in existing Carphone Warehouse stores.

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