Credit: HUMA

The outlet around the corner: “HUMA” shopping world becomes Germany’s first hybrid center

Germany is known as a land of bargain hunters; hardly any customers are as price sensitive as Germans. It is therefore all the more astonishing that Germany has the fewest outlet centers in Europe. For every 1,000 inhabitants, there are 2.6 square meters of retail space – Austria has 8.3 square meters, Great Britain 8.6 square meters and Italy, the frontrunner, 9.1.

“Obviously, there is a need here,” says Lars Jähnichen, managing director of IPH Handelsimmobilien. So why not combine the advantages of a classic shopping center with those of an outlet for customers? And that’s exactly what IPH is currently developing in the “HUMA” shopping world in Sankt Augustin. “This is an innovative concept in Germany. With this project, we are pioneers,” Jähnichen emphasizes. The property is being redesigned for this purpose. “We want to combine the best of three retail worlds here.” That means: the lower floor will belong to food retail and other goods of everyday use. On the middle level, classic shopping center concepts such as Rituals, Bestseller, JD Sports or the Mayersche bookstore will be concentrated. The upper level will become an outlet center with up to 10,000 square meters of space – and direct access to its own parking deck. The opening is scheduled for summer 2022. 

The idea was born quickly: It must become an outlet 

This project began in September 2020, when the “HUMA” owner approached IPH wishing to develop a new concept for using the building’s vast space. As part of the detailed analysis, many usage options such as office, hotel or coworking were examined and rejected. In the end, one result remained: “We quickly became friends with the idea of an integrated outlet center,” Jähnichen recalls. 

IPH brought an outlet expert on board to review and support the plans. “Together with him, we approached all potential tenants and received a very good response for the location,” says Jähnichen, describing the great interest on the part of the brands. “In the meantime, we are conducting concrete negotiations with many concepts for the outlet level.” The newly developed design concept of the Chapman Taylor architectural firm ensures the design differentiation of the three usage modules of good for everyday use, shopping center and outlet center.

The catchment area is enormous 

There are many strengths for the “HUMA” outlet, one of which is the catchment area. Within an hour’s drive, the outlet reaches more than 6 million people, and in 15 minutes it still reaches more than 300,000. The connections to the A3 and A560 freeways ensure good transport links. In addition, there is a tram station in the immediate vicinity with a direct connection to downtown Bonn. 

The competitive situation also confirms this location, as rival properties in Montabaur or Bad Münstereifel are significantly further away from the Cologne/Bonn metropolitan region. And the designer outlet in the Dutch city of Roermond, with 196 brand stores, is aimed at a different target group. “That’s where people go to spend the whole day or weekend. We want to become the outlet ‘around the corner’ for the Cologne/Bonn metropolitan region,” is how Jähnichen describes it. It’s the mixture that should make it here because this combination of goods of everyday use, shopping and offers for bargain hunters cannot be found anywhere else in Germany yet.

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