The last few days were quite eventful for the retail real estate industry. After all, new openings have become rare occurrences in the European shopping center industry by now. This seems to be an intermediate peak. GranRoma in Rome opened its doors on May 16, 2019, on the same day StadtGalerie Velbert was launched in the German city of the same name in North Rhine-Westphalia, followed by Galerie Mlociny in Warsaw on May 23, 2019, and Belgrade’s Ada Mall on May 24.
Meanwhile in Italy: GranRoma, located in the eastern quadrant of Rome, opened its doors to the public on the evening of Thursday May 16, only 20 months after work on it had begun, thanks to the Fresia Group, the company that designed, developed and built the shopping center. It covers a surface of 40,000 sq m and is arranged on three levels: a basement car park and two floors dedicated to shopping and restaurants. A scenic 350 sq m terrace on the second level completes the structure, providing a view overlooking the impressive Alexandrian aqueduct (226 AD). GranRoma is supposed to become a meeting point for the inhabitants of the area, a place to gather and a place of services, alongside the greenery and the fascinating archaeological ruins of the aqueduct. This area of Rome continues to undergo a significant and ongoing upgrade.
Mission „Generation Italy“
In the development of the Fresia Group project, the shopping center is the driving economic force that gives substance to the development of the area, both from an urban point of view, with the creation of an infrastructure that significantly alleviates the traffic on the existing road with an investment of €15 million by the Group, as well as from an employment point of view, as the shopping center provides approximately 500 new jobs. Fresia Group has paid particular attention to this latter aspect and, with the contribution of Intesa San Paolo, has involved the “Generation Italy” Foundation to launch a project that includes the training of 100 young people in an intensive, three-week course at the end of which, participants will be granted job interviews with GranRoma shops participating in the initiative.
Now, let’s take a look at Germany: With around 1,000 guests, the StadtGalerie Velbert in North Rhine-Westphalia was officially opened by project developer Concepta from Düsseldorf. In the course of the day, around 15,000 curious visitors visited the shopping center on the newly designed Europaplatz between the pedestrian zone and Forum Niederberg. The StadtGalerie in downtown Velbert is designed as a meeting point and has a rental area of approximately 13,000 sq m across 40 shops as well as 500 parking spaces. Tenants include Netto, Kult, Rituals, Thalia and Intersport Klose. Prelios Immobilien Management is responsible for letting, property and center management.
EPP and Echo Investment are the investors
Opening ceremonies were also in order in Warsaw: One of the biggest shopping and entertainment venues in Warsaw opened on May 23, 2019: Galeria Mlociny. 225,000 sq m of total space, 82,000 sq m of GLA with 76,000 sq m allocated to retail and F&B, 6,000 sq m of office space, over 200 shops and 36 restaurants, the tallest shopfront windows in Poland, 10 screen multiplex cinema with comfortable, recliner seating, a 200 sq m stage/event area, 2,500 sq m green terrace area, 2,000 parking spaces, 20 coworking spaces. These are some of the numbers which can be used to describe the Galeria Mlociny. Investors include EPP (70% of shares) and Echo Investment (30% of shares). While the former will manage the complex, the latter was fully responsible for the development process and leasing.
The design project of Galeria Mlociny was created by two architectural studios – Kurylowicz & Associates and Chapman Taylor. The shopping center sets itself apart because of the approach to designing a place with social, entertainment, and F&B functionalities. The shopping center is located in close proximity to the Mlociny transport hub – one of the major transit locations in Warsaw, with direct access to the underground, numerous trams, city, local and national bus lines, a bicycle station and a P&R car park. It’s also a busy transfer point for the northern part of the city as well as Warsaw’s neighboring towns, which is used by over 24 million passengers every year.
34,000 sq m of additional GLA in Belgrade
The opening date in Belgrade needed to be rescheduled, but the Ada Mall, which was developed by GTC, was ultimately launched on May 24, 2019. The award-winning scheme is strategically situated at the intersection between the densely populated, residential neighborhood of Banovo Brdo and the leisure hotspot Ada Ciganlija Island, which is located along the river Sava. Taking advantage of its location, Ada Mall aims to become Belgrade’s future meeting place, not only for the local residents but also for the tens of thousands of tourists who visit the island throughout the year.
In order to accommodate for this large number of guests the mall was planned as a natural multilevel link between the residential area at the back and the recreational area at the front. It is well connected to the public transport network and has a multilevel garage for about 1,000 cars. The tenant mix comprises a local supermarket, international and local fashion brands, a multiplex cinema and a wide selection of restaurants, bars and cafes, which are an integral part of the Belgradian culture. Over 140 units in total on a combined GLA of 34,000 sq m are spread across five floors. Tenants include: H&M, LC Waikiki, Reserved, Terranova, Cropp, House, Lindex, Calliope, Maxi Supermarket.
It will be interesting to see how these new retail properties will develop in their respective markets.