Downtown Mall Opens in Upper Austria

By opening architecturally outward, the Weberzeile fuses with downtown Ried. Total integration is the new shopping center’s motto. Patios, windows, and balconies provide communication between the users and the environment.

On August 28, a flagship project for downtown retail opened its doors. SES Spar European Shopping Centers Opened a modern shopping district with 22,000 sq m of rentable area in the heart of Ried im Innkreis (Upper Austria). It’s called “Weberzeile.” 50 stores, service, and catering establishments on two sales levels are spread around a “town square” in the midst of the new mall, which connects on foot to the commercial establishments of the historic downtown and links architecturally seamlessly with existing city structures. The Weberzeile is cooperating in close operation with Ried’s economy and builds on the region’s strengths. It created a total of 500 jobs. 800 well-lit, extra-wide underground parking spaces on two levels were created as a key success factor for the location.

€70 million invested

The history: In 2007, SES chose the downtown location on a site that had long been used for commerce. The site was home to a Kastner&Öhler department store for many years. Citizens and residents were involved from the outset. From 2010 to 2012, SES bought the necessary plots and in 2012, SES took on the project completely. The authorities gave the green light for construction in summer 2013. Construction then began that autumn. With an investment of €70 million, SES developed the area into the downtown shopping center Weberzeile. The main aim was, as mentioned, to integrate with the city. This was also reflected in the briefing for the architects and ultimately in the overall design. ATP Architekten Ingenieure created the concept for the building and the general planning.

More than a fifth of 50 stores in the Weberzeile are operated by entrepreneurs from the region on their own or as franchisees. Image: Karin Lohberger Photography
More than a fifth of 50 stores in the Weberzeile are operated by entrepreneurs from the region on their own or as franchisees. Image: Karin Lohberger Photography

Marcus Wild, CEO of SES, is pleased with the result: “The Weberzeile is not a traditional shopping center. It not only unites modern shopping habits with a downtown location, but merges into the city by opening up to the outside architecturally. Total integration is the motto – patios, windows, and balconies provide communication between the users and the environment. This is what the future of shopping looks like. The mall is a national and international showcase for us in terms of the design and cooperation with the city. Our roots mean we are ourselves retailers. Now we have again qualitatively developed an existing commercial site. High quality of stay, fountains, live plants, quality gastronomy, and much more make the Weberzeile the place to be.

Versatile gastronomic offer

Large-area anchor tenants include Eurospar, Kastner&Öhler, Hervis, and a dm drugstore. Media Markt, H&M, Müller, CCC Shoes, and the Varner Group (Dressmann, BikBok, Carlings) are on board and opening their first stores in the Inn Quarter region. More than a fifth of the 50 shops are run by entrepreneurs from the region on their own or as a franchisees. The SES team stuck to the motto quality, internationality, and regionality during the selection of catering partners as well. That’s because gastronomy is becoming ever more important for the quality and length of stay. All cafes, bars, and restaurants in the Weberzeile are operated by leading Upper Austrian restaurateurs.

The name, by the way, recalls that Ried was once the center of the linen weaver’s (“Weber”) guild. The street at that time was called Weberzeile. In fact, most of those who lived and worked there were weavers. The linen weaver’s guild was the most important guild in the city. These historical roots are being reinterpreted in the operation of the new mall, for example in its particular focus on fashion, new brands, and a variety of activities. The city of Ried also latched onto this idea and restored the name Weberzeile to the road at the opening of the shopping center.

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