Peel's extensive direct and indirect investments extend to 40m (9 million square feet) of investment property and over 13,000 hectares of land. Peel is one of the largest property investment companies in the United Kingdom, and has its UK head office at the intu Trafford Centre, in Greater Manchester.
The Trafford Centre, which opened in 1998, is widely regarded as Peel's first landmark development. The centre was sold in 2011 to Capital Shopping Centres (now Intu Properties) for £1.6 billion, making it the largest property acquisition in British history and the biggest European property deal of 2011. The transaction involved exchanging shares in The Trafford Centre for a shareholding in Capital Shopping Centres. Other projects which Peel have developed include MediaCityUK, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Gloucester Quays and Frodsham Wind Farm.
The Group is led by John Whittaker, who maintains a 75% majority stake in the group, with the Olayan Group owning a circa 25% stake. The Group is a key supporter of the Government's vision to rebalance the country's economy and establish the north as a 'global powerhouse'.
Peel has identified 150 projects across its investment portfolio, including the £50 billion Ocean Gateway development which sits within its Northern Powerhouse agenda and in 2015 launched a consultative document 'Peel in the Northern Powerhouse', which encourages a fresh dialogue between business, Government and other Northern-based partners. Demonstrating its commitment, Peel became a member of the Government's Northern Powerhouse partnership programme in October 2016.
Born in Bury, Lancashire in 1942, John Whittaker was born into an independently wealthy, industrious and entrepreneurial Roman Catholic family, with interests in the historical Northwest cotton industry and property. By the 1960s, John's branch of the family owned property and quarries, which in the Government-created boom infrastructure investment period of the 1960s supplied aggregates to the motorway building programme, such as the M62 from Liverpool to Leeds.