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ALEJA, Ljubljana. Image: SES Spar European Shopping Centers

SES Now Operates Five Large-scale Shopping Centers in Slovenia

SES Spar European Shopping Centers, Austria’s market-leading shopping center operator, opened ALEJA Center in Ljubljana on Wednesday, 20 May 2020. The 150 million euros investment serves as a mixed-use shopping and leisure hot spot.

The center was completed in March, but, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the originally planned opening date had to be postponed. The first shops with focus on local supply opened at the beginning of May, and the entire center is set into full operation on 20 May.

The high standards of hygiene that are already in place across all SES centers will be implemented at ALEJA and reinforced via additional measures as well as an increase in cleaning intervals and security personnel. The Planet Lollipop children’s adventure world and part of ALEJA SKY are scheduled to open at a later date. The iconic building marks yet another architectural highlight in the wonderful cultural city of Ljubljana, creating a new meeting place for the city’s residents.

ALEJA represents the first completely new shopping center to be opened in Europe following the coronavirus shutdown. The company has thereby signaled its revival, while simultaneously making a statement on behalf of the retail and gastronomy sectors.

ALEJA, the most modern shopping center in Slovenia, is expected to set new standards beyond the Slovenian borders. SES, in its function as developer, investor, and operator, built the center over a construction period lasting from September 2017 to March 2020 in the densely populated northwest area of Ljubljana, investing 150 million euros in the new district center located in the heart of Šiška.

80 Shops, Restaurants, and Service Outlets

ALEJA covers 32,000 square meters of leasable area (GLA) and offers a mix of over 80 international, Slovenian, and local shops, restaurants, and service providers. The shopping center is 100 percent let, and it houses the most modern INTERSPAR hypermarket in Slovenia, as well as Drogerie Müller, fashion brands XYZ, H&M, Hervis, Reserved, Tommy Hilfiger, and Baby Center, McDonald’s, Big Bang, and Mass, to name a few. The Sport Vision brand is set to make its debut in Slovenia. The majority of the 80 shops are scheduled to open their doors on 20 May, with a small number of shops opening their doors one week later due to a lack of available goods caused by COVID-19.

Cutting Edge Emphasis on Gastronomy, Leisure Activities, and Experiences

ALEJA provides Ljubljana with a mixed-use location for shopping, gastronomy, leisure activities, and sports, featuring numerous innovations. The center boasts, among other things, “ALEJA SKY”, a 6,200-square-meter adventure and leisure zone on the roof of the center, which is comprised of green spaces, sports facilities for soccer, basketball, and volleyball, two fitness courses, a park that includes paths, seating and recreational areas, as well as a children’s playground. A pump track for cyclists, which includes two circuits in front of the building, completes the leisure activity offer. A large portion of the roof areas will be opened on 20 May, with only the areas for team sports remaining closed, for the time being, due to the coronavirus.

Wide Range of Culinary Offers and a Very Spacious Experience

As is the case at all SES centers, special attention has been devoted to gastronomy. In this instance, the food court is situated beneath a huge dome and offers outdoor terraces for every restaurant connected to ALEJA SKY. Domestic and international (Italian, Mexican, and Asian) cuisine will be served on an area covering 2,300 square meters. Fast food restaurants are also available to provide a quick snack. The best cafés in the city, distributed throughout the center, round out the offer. The gastronomy areas and ALEJA SKY can be accessed from outside via elevators and stairs, both during and outside the opening hours of the center.

SES CEO Marcus Wild: “This building is yet another landmark in a great architectural city. The concept of ALEJA is unique in its urbanity,” says Marcus Wild, CEO of SES, adding “urban spaces have something organic about them – they become one with their surroundings and pulsate on the footfall of customers. You can sense that, embedded within the DNA of SES, architecture is a defining and human characteristic. ALEJA SKY, which is part of the new center, will not serve as the only new meeting place in the city.”

Impressive Architecture Reflecting the Splendor of the City

The iconic building showcases a unique architectural design, which was planned and executed in cooperation with ATP architekten ingenieure. The facade stands out as a particular highlight and, with its diamond-shaped and multi-colored shimmering scales, is reminiscent of a dragon, the heraldic figure of the Slovenian capital. The center consists of two underground levels, a ground level, and two upper levels. An event square paved with granite stones and featuring a fountain can be found in front of the main entrance.

High Quality of Stay and Excellent Ambiance

The top priorities at all SES centers, which are implemented accordingly, are a pleasant quality of stay and a positive spatial experience. Warm, natural materials, light colors, and soft, organic shapes also characterize the seamless character of ALEJA. The mall is constructed of high-quality materials, features natural stone flooring, and provides plenty of daylight, while simultaneously ensuring a glare-free shopping environment. The sales areas on the first level are interconnected via three bridges. Columned plants and a tree serve as vertical green elements between the ground level and the upper level. Sporadic additional planting, water features, fountains, seating, and resting areas complement the natural character and give visitors the sense that they are in the midst of a bustling city. Both the interior and exterior areas of the center are, as a matter of course, designed in a barrier-free manner.

Optimal Accessibility and the Largest Bicycle Garage in Slovenia

More than 1,600 free parking spaces are available at the center, 1,400 of which are located in a bright and modern, two-level underground parking garage. An additional 200 parking spaces are located directly next to the building. ALEJA is also very well connected to the city’s public transport network. Two bus stops are located at the center, and a connection to the City of Ljubljana’s bicycle rental program “BicikeLJ” is also available. ALEJA offers the largest bicycle garage in Slovenia, which includes 200 bicycle parking spaces, 13 e-charging stations, and car sharing.

Wide Range of Services

As soon as government regulations allow, the first and largest Planet Lollipop children’s world in Slovenia will open at ALEJA. Planet Lollipop is an SES brand and offers well-supervised playtime opportunities, fun, and activities for children up to 10 years. The indoor playground, which covers 500 square meters, offers an active area, a creative area, a book and games corner where children can retreat, and custom-made interactive furniture.

High Hygiene and Safety Standards Reinforced

As is the case at all SES centers, the high hygiene standards that are already in place will be further strengthened at ALEJA. Touch points, such as fittings, railing and escalator hand grips, ATM keypads, and elevator buttons are now cleaned and disinfected even more frequently. Disinfectant dispensers as well as face masks are available for customers throughout the mall.

Fifth Slovenian Center in the SES Portfolio

ALEJA is the fifth shopping center managed by SES in Slovenia. SES is the market leader in Slovenia for large-scale shopping centers and has been successfully represented via its shopping centers in Ljubljana, Maribor, and Celje since 1997. The popularity of the SES centers can be attributed to the dedicated management teams at each location as well as the consistent quality offensives and investments made in the shopping locations in recent years. The cards will be reshuffled once the coronavirus crisis has ended. Slovenian retail has also been severely affected by the current crisis. The situation has proven to be challenging for both shopping partners and operators.