British Land's trading update for its third financial quarter beat expectations. The property giant reported a rise in the number of shoppers passing through its centres in a statement on 19 January.
The upbeat results come shortly after London mayor Boris Johnson gave British Land the go-ahead to redevelop Victorian warehouses on Norton Folgate in central London. It has planned to knock down most of the buildings, which are built on the edge of London's financial centre, the City.
Pro-conservation campaign group Spitalfields Trust had also offered to buy the property and renovate it, keeping the historic buildings alive. The group said it could easily match British Land's bid. Tower Hamlets council also wanted to prevent the demolition from happening but Johnson overruled the council's decision.
British Land said it acknowledged the historic value of the properties in question but pushed that its ambitious plans would offer space for 2,400 city workers. The newly built offices would mainly be used by small and medium-sized companies and tech startups.
The developer told shareholders that it was renting out 312,000sq ft in both office and retail. The company's properties were let 8.5% ahead of market value (estimated rental value) in September 2015.
British Land also reported a rise in shoppers passing through its commercial centres. Retail same store sales rose 0.9% on a like-for-like basis. Its retail divisions strongly boosted overall results.
The offices division also brought good news for the company, with its office portfolio "virtually full". British Land's iconic Leadenhall Building, one of the biggest skyscrapers in the City known as the Cheesegrater, is 94% let.
"We had another strong quarter: our occupational markets remained robust and we continued to be active in the investment markets," said British Land chief Chris Griggs. "Looking forward, while we are mindful that the economic and political outlook is clearly more uncertain since the half year, we are confident in the underlying strength of our business."