Despite the headwinds facing the retail sector, the value of retail assets remains clear. They have the ability to adapt to become focal points of city centers, attracting people for leisure, social, cultural, and entertainment activities, which, in turn, plays a vital role in creating jobs and enhancing local communities. However, in order to remain relevant and attractive, they have to continue to adapt.
“Multi continues to innovate, backed by long-term capital, refurbishing and redeveloping assets, with a focus on creating spaces that are integral parts of local communities. The addition of non-retail uses that serve the needs of surrounding areas can help reposition venues and create a halo effect that helps drive new traffic to existing retailers. Refurbishment improves the atmospheres of shopping centers, impacts spending and dwell times and attracts tenants, thereby improving the overall value of the assets,” says Rüdiger Dany, Chief Operations Officer.
Poland, Hungary, and the Netherlands
Multi is currently carrying out several refurbishment and regeneration projects within its European portfolio. Forum Gdańsk is one example of what a successful redevelopment on historical ground can look like. Allee Center in Budapest is currently undergoing extensive renovation, and the City of Rotterdam is benefiting from a large-scale renovation as part of its Forum Rotterdam scheme. The modern urban shopping destination Forum Gdańsk – which, in addition to an extensive range of international and premium brands, gastronomy, and entertainment options, offers a new public transport hub, the Gdańsk Heritage Center, and the Watercraft Building, a museum and boutique hotel – demonstrates the multitude of possibilities presented by redevelopment and successful placement.
The refurbishment of the 46,700 square meter Allee Center will enhance the tenant mix, the interior and exterior design, and the customer service, and it will help to ensure Allee’s leading position in the increasingly competitive market in Budapest. TTDesign, Multi’s in-house design studio for master planning, architecture, and interior design, is currently working on the execution phase of the project. The refurbishment of Allee, approximately 10 years after its initial opening, demonstrates the owners’ commitment to modernizing the center in order to meet evolving consumer trends and expectations. “Our designs are primarily driven by commercial considerations as well as functional and pragmatic solutions. By creating design solutions based on concepts such as hospitality, customer journey, look and feel, and flexibility, we aim to maximize the retail experience,” says Harry Vroemen, Head of TTDesign.
Prior to the refurbishment, Multi was successful at attracting new and exciting brands, such as Reserved, Lindt, CK Jeans, Sloggi, Inglot, and Tissot and at launching a new marketing strategy. The repositioning will improve the shopping experience, and design elements that are focused on public space will redefine the function of the center as a meeting and experiential space in the Hungarian capital.
Next Level Asset Management
Forum Rotterdam is an innovative, mixed-use regeneration project in the center of Rotterdam. It is centrally located among Rotterdam’s top shopping streets: Coolsingel, Binnenwegplein, Lijnbaan, and Beurstraverse and is a joint project involving a.s.r. real estate, Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance, and Multi Netherlands. The multi-functional project, which includes 64,000 square meter of space for retail, food and beverage outlets, and offices, consists of modernized buildings and high street sections. It serves as yet another example of the transformation of an urban space into a vibrant community.
“Multi’s strength lies in its multi-disciplinary approach, collaborating with all stakeholders and establishing a clear objective and a holistic approach from the outset. In addition to providing a complete package of services, the company creates sustainable asset value. Forum Rotterdam is an excellent example of Multi’s next level of asset management,” says Patrick van Dooyeweert, Chief Investment & Development Officer.
With its mix of living, working, shopping, sports, and food and beverage outlets, Multi, in partnership with all local stakeholders, is transforming a previously inward-looking office space into a relevant and dynamic focal point in the port city. The development of Forum Rotterdam is highly complex due to its location and the multitude of components involved.
Hubert Stech, Managing Director Germany & Benelux, says: “We envision future refurbishment and modernization scenarios for all our projects in order to ensure that they remain competitive, modern, and value-adding. After thoroughly analyzing the property, the market, and the competitors, we develop a creative strategy for each shopping center, which we regard as passion-based work. When you are able to create and change things for an entire community, you do so much more than just manage a shopping center. When you work together to develop new ideas and to create more value, this passion can be sensed in the result.”