US REIT General Growth Properties is planning to add 22,000 residential units, 4.67m sq ft of office space and more than 9,000 hotel rooms to its retail portfolio across the States as part of its ‘densification’ strategy.

GGP has a portfolio of 200 shopping centres comprising 200m sq ft of retail in the US. Speaking at the BCSC Conference in Gateshead, chief executive John Bucksbaum, said the densification plan would add $18bn (£8.6bn) in value from the residential development and a further $255m (£122.3m) in annual lease rentals from the additional office and hotel space.

Las Vegas Boulevard
Bucksbaum said he no longer wanted to restrict GGP to just retail development. ‘For instance, we have 1.8m sq ft of retail space in the Fashion Show mall on a site of 60 acres on the Las Vegas Boulevard (The Strip) in Las Vegas. On the other side of The Strip the Venetian Resort [owned by Las Vegas Sands] has 18m sq ft of space comprising hotels, a casino and retail on a similar amount of land.

‘The lesson we have learned is that maybe we should be looking to do more than just a shopping centre in Las Vegas. There is a tremendous opportunity to create more value on the Fashion Show site – the Venetian has nine times more development on the same sized site.’

Bucksbaum said redeveloping its existing malls into mixed-use developments would mean in some cases the redeveloping of existing malls, ‘de-malling’ and building on surface car parks.