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LONDON-Hammerson has started the process of extracting value from the Grantchester out-of-town retail portfolio it bought last year. In Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, it has been granted planning permission for a 270,000-sf retail park on a 22-acre site, and it will now exercise an option–originally negotiated by Grantchester–to purchase the site from the Welsh Development Agency.

The scheme will provide nine major units including a health club; three catering outlets and 1,000 car parking spaces. Heads of terms have already been agreed with B&QWarehouse; JJB Sports; Matalan; Comet; Currys; Brantano; McDonalds and PizzaHut..

The site has a prominent frontage to the A470, which links directly to the M4 and Cardiff and construction is due to begin in Autumn this year with completion in September 2004.

Hammerson Managing Director John Bywater said: “The acquisition of Grantchester at the end of 2002 gave us immediate criticalmass in the retail warehouse sector. Not only did we acquire an income producingportfolio of two million sf, but we also have the potential to create a furthermillion sf of space from developments. Merthyr Tydfil is the first of these major developments.”

Letting agent for the scheme is EJ Hales.

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