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Refinancing Makes This The Second-Most Valuable Building In Britain

Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford, London

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is on the verge of completing a £750M refinancing of the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre, in a transaction that means it is likely to be the second-most valuable building in Britain.

Ratings agencies Fitch and S&P confirmed ratings for a new commercial mortgage-backed securitisation of a loan secured against the 2M SF mall in East London. Fitch’s ratings report said that in March Cushman & Wakefield valued the building at £2.76B.

That means the centre has increased in value by more than £750M since it was last publicly valued at £1.96B in 2014, in spite of the current travails of the retail sector.

In its report, Fitch pointed to the resiliency of the income at the centre, in spite of the wave of store closures and rent cuts afflicting UK shopping centres. The centre has a passing rent of £134M, and an estimated rental value of £143M.

The average lease length of the 266 tenants is 9.3 years, or 5.1 years to the first break. The new loan on the property matures in 2024 and has a loan-to-value ratio of 27%. The loan is not secured against the office and residential buildings Westfield built around the centre.

Unibail owns a 50% stake in the centre, with the other 50% split equally between the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Dutch pension fund APG.

The most valuable building in Britain? Its valuation is not publicly stated, but it is likely to be Westfield Stratford’s equally successful sister scheme, Westfield London in White City in West London. At 2.5M SF it is 20% larger than Westfield Stratford.

Some campuses of buildings could claim to be more valuable, such as Broadgate in the City, valued at more than £4B. But as far as single buildings go, the two shopping centres top the list.

The Trafford Centre in Manchester is the largest single-building deal ever, bought by Intu for £1.65B in 2010. The company is now trying to refinance the centre at a valuation of £2.1B.