The previously planned opening of the largest mall in the Netherlands' history has taken place, even though the stores in it remain closed.
The Westfield Mall of the Netherlands, one of the largest malls in Dutch history, opened its doors on Thursday, March 18. It is located in Leidschendam, on the northwestern outskirts of The Hague, and has 117,000 square meters of floor space. There is enough space for 280 stores, a restaurant, a cinema, and a food court. However, all such establishments remain closed due to the current restrictions in the country.
Current restrictions do not allow stores that do not sell necessities such as food, personal hygiene items, pet food, and cleaning supplies. A few days ago, the government softened restrictions, and now customers have the opportunity to pick up orders. But it is still not possible to visit stores.
But that hasn't stopped the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield consortium behind the mall development. The company has had to cancel planned events before, but this time they decided to do something different and open the mall, even if it looks rather pointless in the face of closed stores. At the moment, Westfield Mall is 92% full. Some tenants decided to leave because they feared (and rightly so) that federal restrictions would be in place by the time the mall was scheduled to open.
During the first lockdown in the country, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield reduced rents for many tenants. However, when the current lockdown ends, the consortium will examine each partner's losses and decide whether to give another discount and, if so, what kind.
19 MARCH 2021, Netherlands