Hammerson's outlet venture with VIA Outlets
Hammerson’s interest in outlets is not new. The company has held shares in Value Retail for several years.
In the last few years, Hammerson has even increased the number of its shares in Value Retail, which operates 9 luxury outlets in Europe (Valley Village). Hammerson has also just recently announced a 30 million pound (38 million euro) investment in the expansion of the British Retail Value centers Bicester and Kildare as well as in the future center in Shanghai, set to open next year.
And this fall, Hammerson kicked things into a higher gear. The company has created a European outlet joint venture with Value Retail, the Dutch pension fund APG and the real estate investment firm Meyer Bergman.
Dubbed “VIA Outlets”, the venture will focus on purchasing centers close to major European cities. Hammerson has already has already invested 70 million pounds (89 million euros) in the enterprise, which appears determined to play ball in the same court as Neinver, MacArthurGlen and Marques Avenue.
VIA Outlets, 47% of which belongs to Hammerson, already has two centers: the Batavia Stad in Amsterdam with a hundred or so stores covering 283,500 square feet and the Fashion Arena in Prague with over 100 stores covering on 270,443 square meters. The new industry player could complete its first acquisition by the end of this year and aims to seek a dozen sites in the medium term.
It’s a logical decision, according to Hammerson. A study by CBRE found that the number of Chinese tourists—significant outlet consumers—is expected to jump by 72% between 2013 and 2018.
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