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Unibail-Rodamco Announces Big Plans Across Europe



Malls.com met with a couple of executives to ask about the company's current plans in three different locations.
As one of the biggest commercial property companies in Europe, Unibail-Rodamco already has some hugely impressive malls spreads across the continent's major cities. 

Indeed, as of June 2015, they own 72 centers and that hasn’t stopped them from also coming up with some exciting new plans to create new shopping centers and to expand others. To understand what they have in the pipeline Malls.com met with a couple of their executives to ask about the company's current plans in three different locations.

Uberseequartier

This will be a big new shopping and leisure destination in the south side of the German city of Hamburg. It will cover 184,000 square meters (1.9 million sq. ft.) including 190 stores, entertainment, hotel, office and residential space. There will also be a bus terminal connected to the mall. Among these stores will be some new international premium brands.

Uberseequartier

The overall investment in this new complex is a total of €860m ($914m). It is estimated that work will be finished on the Uberseequartier development by the second half of 2021. To find out more about it we spoke to Olivier Nougarou, who is the Deputy CEO at Unibail–Rodamco.

He said the plot where the center is to be located will extend the size of the city by 40%, making it “most ambitious development program in Europe for a city”. He expects there to be “1 million people commuting there” in the future.  

“Transport is quite easy”, he stated, because of the existing access options that are found here. It is only a trip of 5 minutes to get to Uberseequartier by subway from the city center, and “about 10 to 15 minutes walking distance”. There will be 3,000 parking spaces added but around 80% of visitors should be arriving by public transport, relieving the risk of traffic jams.

Nougarou called the center “modern, international and a little bit upscale” although still mass market. Zara, H&M and “iconic brands” that are still to be defined will be present in the new mall. He said that they have a “long list of brands” that are interested and that some new bands will make their first entry into the local market here.

The mall will have a “glass roof at 15 meters high”, which will give it an “iconic design” with organically shaped iconic shop-fronts which offer “something really surprising”. There will also be a “big part dedicated to entertainment and leisure”, in a similar way to the same company's Mall of Scandinavia. Small local brands and big international brands will both be included to let the center “have the right mix”, with American and Asian brands possibly represented.

In terms of dining, he went onto tell us that “very original concepts” will be featured here, along with unique restaurants.

When we asked about the future of malls when compared to online shopping, Nougarou told us that “you must offer something different in terms of design and atmosphere”. He mentioned the importance of dining as a “reason for people to come” and to stay for longer. He believes that city center and out of center malls both have a future, as they deal with different customer needs from online shopping.  

Nougarou confirmed that a mall “has to be well-connected” like this one in order to succeed.

Uberseequartier is expected to attract “16 million visits per year”, with 6 million tourists in the city and “1 million people commuting next door”, leading to “huge potential”. The purchasing power is also higher in Hamburg than in the rest of Germany.

Wroclavia

Another exciting new development from Unibail-Rodamco is called Wroclavia and is destined for the Polish city of Wroclaw. This development is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2017. We spoke to Arnaud Burlin about this development. He is the Regional Managing Director for the Central European region. 

Burlin explained to us that the mall will replace the old bus station, in front of the city's train station. The new development will have a bus station integrated into it, assuring it of a “very nice location” as well as being “lively, integrated with a touch of modernity”.

This is a 71,000 sq. meter (764,000 sq. ft.) mall “right in the city center” of Wroclaw, which is the biggest in Western Poland. In terms of entertainment, it will have 20 cinema screens and the city's first IMAX screen.

Retail-wise, there will be more than 200 international and domestic brands represented in the mall. Burlin said that among the brands already destined for Wroclavia are those from the Inditex Group (Zara, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti etc) and the LPP Group (Cropp, Mohito, House etc).

The target market for the mall covers “all inhabitants in Wroclaw” and is “for everybody”.  He called it the “widest offer in Wroclaw”, to satisfy all of the family members of different ages.

The company also has some interesting food concepts lined up for the mall, although it is a “bit too early to talk about it”. When asked about the most interesting aspect of this center he pointed out the “very nice façade” with glass and aluminum, as well as the excellent integration it will offer. Overall, he said that it will be very well designed to give the “best of comfort” to the customers.

The Wroclavia development represents an overall investment of €240m ($255m) for Unibail-Rodamco. As for the financial expectations for it, Burlin said that the Polish market is “very resilient” and their center has “everything to succeed”. He finished off by calling it the “best place to shop and to entertain in the middle of Wroclaw”.

Chodov

The third major project that Unibail-Rodamco has underway is the large expansion of the Centrum Chodov center in the Czech Republic. This is an existing center in the south east of Prague. Burlin called this a “very successful shopping center” with excellent transport links and catchment area.

Centrum Chodov

This work will see the shopping center grow from 61,000 sq. meters (565,598 sq. ft.) to 100,286 sq. meters (1,079,469 sq. ft.). The development has already begun and it is due to be completed in the fall of 2017. The expansion will lead to the complex having 300 stores, which is the highest number of any Czech shopping center. It will also get a new 4DX cinema with 18 screens in it, making it the biggest cinema in the Czech capital. The addition of a cinema was “main request from our customers” for the redeveloped center.

He called it a “trend-setter” of a center with loyal customers and great fashion brands. The Inditex Group will be bringing 7 brands to Chodov, with the likes of Bershka, Zara and Stradivarius.

Dining will be a big part of the new center, as it will feature 43 restaurants. Among these, Wagamama Japanese restaurant will have a 525 sq. meters (5,651 sq. ft.) unit to house its first restaurant in the Czech Republic.

The footfall at the center is “very sustainable at around 13 million”, which is a figure that is still increasing and that the company expects to increase to around 16 million after the expansion.

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