Firm won the £700m main contractor role in 2017

Brent Cross Extension

The £1.4bn extension of Brent Cross Shopping Centre has been pushed back for a second time, with Laing O’Rourke’s start date now unknown.

The scheme, which is being developed by shopping centre operator Hammerson and joint venture partner Aberdeen Standard Investments, was initially due to start on site this month. That date was then pushed to January 2019.

But in its results published today the developer admitted there was no clear time line for works to begin blaming “the current turbulence in the UK retail markets”.

It said: “In the UK, due to increased market risks and while alternative uses of capital offer higher immediate financial returns, we will defer starting on site with our development at Brent Cross.

“The scheme remains an important strategic project and we continue to recognise its role as one of London’s leading retail destinations and will support its future success.”

Laing O’Rourke beat rivals Multiplex and Sir Robert McAlpine to be named the preferred contractor for the redevelopment, which was designed by Callison RTKL and Chapman Taylor, in October last year. Cost consultant Alinea is also working on the scheme.

O’Rourke was appointed under a pre-construction services agreement for the main construction works, which have an overall value of £700m. A team featuring Hochtief and Graham has been selected as preferred contractor for the highway works.

Hammerson said it wants to offload £1.1bn of properties by the end of 2019 as it exits the retail park sector and focuses on “flagship retail destinations”.

In April, it pulled out of a plan to buy smaller rival Intu for £3.4bn.

In its results for the six months to June, the firm said profit during the period went down 80% to £56m.