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24/10/2018

Intu identifies land for 5,000 homes

Words: Laura Edgar
Intu shopping centre / iStock-500063142

Retail property group Intu has identified enough land for 5,000 homes and 600 hotel rooms.

The group’s latest trading report says it is has “extensive, available land”.

Its six major out-of-town centres total 760 acres of land, less than 40 per cent of which has buildings, multistorey car parks or distribution roads upon it. Therefore it has 470 acres of surface car parks and other potentially developable land.

City centre complexes offer opportunities for intensification of uses, while an additional 34 sites have been identified as having a negligible income.

Intu is evaluating mixed-use opportunities, including residential, hotel and other purposes. The land has the potential to accommodate 5,000 homes and nearly 600 hotel rooms, according to the report, but for now, 1,700 units have been identified for the private sector that could provide a yield of £240 million.

Offices and flexible working space is also being considered.  

The report says all opportunities under consideration “would create value directly but moreover would increase the overall attractiveness and catchment of the centres”.

Russell Pedley, co-founder and director of Assael Architecture, said Intu is one of many retail firms considering incorporating residential communities into their existing developments.

“At increasingly uncertain times for retail in Britain, blending residential into existing commercial developments is a novel way of underwriting underperforming assets.”

In terms of architecture, Pedley said there are issues of design quality that must be emphasised in this type of development.

“Blending residential communities with busy and noisy commercial uses requires architects and developers to prioritise quality materials, sound installation and innovative layouts to ensure that the different uses are integrated seamlessly. Developing existing retail sites has the potential to deliver vibrant places, amenities and a lot of homes for the UK, so it’s important that we get it right."

Image credit | iStock

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