€140 million. That is the amount of money the extension of PlusCity, its tram terminal, road connection as well as its new car park have cost. Ernst Kirchmayr, the shopping center’s director in Upper Austria’s Pasching emphasizes that “the four-lane road connection as well as the tram terminal were 100% financed by PlusCity.”
The new numbers clearly show the result. There are now 220 stores instead of the previous 150 on the center’s expanded 70,000 sq m. These stores are to increase the annual turnover from currently €360 million to €450 million. This projection is based on the assumption that annual visitor numbers increase from 10 to 13 million. The number of people working at the mall increases from 2,500 to 3,500.
Mastering the challenges of the Internet
The extension was opened on September 1. “From now on, we are playing in the Champions League of European shopping centers. PlusCity is setting entirely new dimensions for the future with its extension; not only in the Austrian but also the European retail landscape, and presents itself as a ‘Lifestyle & Entertainment Center.’ We left no stone unturned and started a new era. This is the only way for us to master the challenges of the Internet,” says Kirchmayr.
And what do customers, who prefer the real life, find at the extended PlusCity? Among the new tenants are several big players including Primark, the alpine republic’s biggest H&M store, a Zara Home flagship store, but also young labels like Superdry, Hollister, or Snipes, which can only be found here in all of Upper Austria.
Following the latest trend, the gastronomic portfolio as well as the entertainment sector were expanded significantly. This includes the newly extended Hollywood Megaplex with its 3,000 seats, which constitutes Upper Austria’s biggest, most modern “state-of-the-art” movie theater. The guests of the province’s first and only IMAX theater can enjoy continental Europe’s biggest screen with its 330 sq m. The theater comprises 15 cinemas on 11,000 sq m. The 3,000-sq m Ocean Park complements this new entertainment center.
A robot named E2K2 – inspired by R2-D2 from Star Wars – may have been primarily brought in to help people but main job is to entertain them. The idea behind E2K2 is that he knows everything there is to know about the shopping center and that he accompanies people to wherever they want to go in the center. Furthermore he will be able establish a video link to the center’s information desk in case guests require a human contact after all.
E2K2, however, may not be able to fully appreciate the architecture of his operation site due to his lack of emotions. That’s a shame because PlusCity’s management pays particular attention to the shopping center’s appearance.
Kirchmayr says, “PlusCity has become a self-contained city with a unique ambience and style over the past years. We plan even the smallest details and want our guests to be happy. This is something we already proved with ‘Marcusplatz’ and the new park decks’ design and continued with this extension.” A glass dome, which is 84 meters wide and 25 meters high, was also integrated as part of the extension. This is the world’s biggest glass dome in a mall and spans the new “Palmenplatz.”
For all kinds of red carpet events
Particularly Marcusplatz is ideally suited for events. Approximately 80 smaller and bigger events take place at this shopping center every year. As a popular event location for red carpet events, PlusCity already had many celebrity guests including Demi Moore, Lindsay Lohan, 50 Cent, David Alaba, Pamela Anderson, and the Klitschko brothers.
Further major events include numerous Fashion Days as well as the annual Wine Festival. The farmer’s market, which takes place every Wednesday, is yet another popular highlight.
Kirchmayr summarizes: “PlusCity has not been a ‘conventional shopping center’ for quite some time. Today, we combine shopping with social aspects like entertainment, gastronomy, meeting friends, living and wellbeing. We are a ‘place to be’. PlusCity is a trendsetter in the domestic retail market and has become its own microcosm – a new leisure & entertainment city with a unique spirit and character. Now we have set the course for the future.”