Hammerson ramps up 'City Quarters' strategy with new MD appointment

Retail property group Hammerson’s ‘City Quarters’ strategy has been given greater impetus, via the appointment of a dedicated managing director (MD).

Simon Betty, who had been Hammerson’s retail director for Ireland, has assumed the MD role, and will be responsible for driving the City Quarters vision, which involves the group moving beyond pure retail, and into more mixed-use schemes.

The aim of the strategy is to deliver "vibrant mixed-use neighbourhoods" surrounding Hammerson’s existing flagship destinations. The plan is to use 100 acres of its existing land bank to create “thriving city neighbourhoods”.

Recent landmarks for the project include securing outline consent for a 7.5-acre site for 1,300 homes and 1.4m sq ft of workspace at Martineau Galleries, Birmingham, as well as full consent for a new flagship hotel adjacent to Victoria Gate Leeds. Meanwhile, in Dublin, planning has been granted for over 100 apartments at Dundrum Town Centre in South County Dublin – Hammerson’s first move into residential development in Ireland.

Overall, City Quarters has the potential to add 6,600 homes, 1,600 hotel rooms, and nearly 300,000 sq m of workspace, according to Hammerson, in a move that underlines the changing nature of the retail property market and the switch in retail property firms’ attention to mixed use.

David Atkins, Hammerson CEO, said: “Simon has been instrumental in establishing our presence in Ireland since we entered the market in 2015 and his experience across the business will be essential for the delivery phase of City Quarters.

“The concept has already made great progress in the last 12 months, and this newly created role will build upon this success, ensuring it delivers value for both stakeholders and local communities.”

Betty joined Hammerson in 2006, and has extensive experience across the business having worked across developments, retail parks, investor relations and group strategy prior to his retail director role in Ireland. The search for his successor has now started.

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