NEPI Rockcastle has been continuing the Forum Gdańsk success story since the end of 2022. The center only opened in 2018 and was already able to record a double-digit increase in the following year. But when Covid 19 happened, it had to be closed. “The asset,” says Rüdiger Dany, “had no time or opportunity to actually prove itself on the market.” Nevertheless, according to the CEO of NEPI Rockcastle, the center has great opportunities to gain further market share, is already one of NEPI’s best performers and offers good expansion opportunities.
Forum Gdańsk covers 63,500 sq m gross lettable area (‘GLA’) on the inner-city ring road and between the city’s two main railway stations, right next to the old town that attracts more than one million tourists each year. It has 1,100 parking spaces. Around a third of the site area consists of green planted spaces, where trees and shrubs offer a natural oasis within the urban environment.
The shopping center is almost fully leased with anchor tenants including, Eurospar, Helios, H&M, Reserved, TK Maxx, Van Graaf and Zara. There are 840,000 people living within a 30-minute drive from the shopping center, within the ‘Tricity region’ (encompassing Gdańsk and the cities of Gdynia and Sopot), considered to be Poland’s northern economic powerhouse on the Baltic Sea coast. End of 2022 NEPI Rockcastle acquired the Shopping Center for 250 million Euros from Blackstone. This acquisition marked one of the largest deals of 2022. Dany said then: “Forum Gdańsk represents a compelling investment opportunity. We are long-term investors and are confident that fundamentally Central and Eastern Europe is a region that will continue to outperform economically relative to Western Europe in the future”. Poland, the second largest market for NEPI’s operations, has had a GDP growth rate that has been consistently, year by year, outpacing the EU average over the last decade. One of the particularities of CEE retail markets relative to Western Europe is that the shopping center sector plays a central role in the economic and community development of cities because the retail ‘High Street’ didn’t evolve in the post-war socialist period as it did in the west. Dany continued: “Forum Gdańsk, with its striking architecture and dominant position in the center of the city, is the epitome of this type of CEE shopping center trophy asset for all the best reasons.”