"We have concluded, after detailed retail research, financial analysis, and sticking a wet finger in the air, that:.
- doing nothing to Brent Cross shopping centre is not an option
- a minor refurbishment or extension is not much better - certainly not the best option
- the 'Living Bridge' idea is the most profitable scheme (better than the consented scheme!) and provides the best returns.
"We need to tell Barnet Council that the first viability test, due in 2012, must be relaxed. Yes, Barnet is dysfunctional, but par for the course, unfortunately. [Source]
"We all know that the Brent Cross north side would have to subsidise the south side, but it would be less if the first phase were to be made larger, or if our construction costs could be reduced. Discussion of the housing costs will be depressing.
"Anyway, Standard Life, you could just invest in the north side (no change there, then). Or you could join in a new partnership vehicle that would develop both sides. You will probably go for just the first option, but then we'd need to convince you that the south side would actually happen!
"If you fancy a partnership vehicle, it would be an odd mixture of retail property investment (bog-standard to real estate investment trusts, like us), retail and commercial development, and residential investment - and that's not very common! Goodness knows how we ever got involved in this mess. 'Shopping-Centres-R-Us', that's what Hammerson would rather be.
"Of course, in today's uncertain economic climate and stock market chaos, big new development projects are going to be hard to support, but let's all hope for the best!
"Remember what we tried to get away with in 1996? What a lark that was!"
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