Big retail real estate projects signal strong market rebound

According to Reuters, things are looking up  for the retail real estate industry, as evidenced by several major openings and developments sure to keep shoppers busy and satisfied.

One great big new change

London’s financial heartland welcomed an enormous new shopping/office complex, One New Change, in October last year. Opened in Cheapside, One Side is Land Securities’ latest development, featuring 20,500 m2 of high‑end cafés, restaurants, office space and flagship fashion brands.

The Guardian reported that the eight-storey building cost £540m to build and claims bragging rights as the largest shopping centre in Central London, The mall, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, also offers over 30,000 m2 of office space above its retail outlets.

According to The Guardian, One New Change is hoping to cash in on the 350,000 city workers who normally shop in the West End. An additional 10,000 city residents and numerous tourists can capitalise on the mall’s extended weekend hours.

Ambition in France and India

In France, the new Lyon Confluence will be the city’s second largest shopping centre after La-Part-Dieu. Developed by Unibail and slated to open in 2012, the mall will be built in the heart of a new area of the growing city, at the crossroad of the Rhone and Saone rivers. Lyons’ new district will host residential areas, offices, and hotels, and will be anchored by the shopping centre.

Elsewhere in France, brand-new shopping centre La Cour des Capucins opened in the heart of Thionville in the Moselle Region in August. French national newspaper Le Figaro reported that the shopping centre covers approximately 8,700 m2 and over 40 stores. It is accessible from the town centre via four pedestrian entrances and is directly connected to the new 400-space underground public car park.

But behold up-and-coming India, which boasts over 25 new shopping centres from Agra to Thiruvananthapuram. Most ambitious of these is the Mall of India, currently under construction in Gurgaon, a fast developing city near Delhi. When completed, the 418,000 m2 mall will be India’s largest. The US$298 million mall is being developed by DLF Universal, and will be located on the NH-8 highway.

Germany: thinking big

In Germany, this year’s MAPIC Country of Honour, German retailer Metro Group’s property unit is forming a joint venture with Hamburg-based shopping centre developer and operator ECE to manage 38 retail parks throughout the country.

The Metro Group will contribute 36 retail parks to the new company to be known as MEC (METRO-ECE Centermanagement), and ECE will provide two. ECE CEO Alexander Otto said, “The new company can look forward to opportunities to take over further centre management duties and refurbishment projects.”

This comes on the heels of Cushman and Wakefield’s latest retail real estate report, which showed improvement across the board. According to Main Streets Across the World, which tracks and ranks the top 278 shopping locations across 63 countries, 81% of countries surveyed recorded prime rents increasing or remaining static over the year to June.

Shopaholics take heart

It’s part of a positive trend occurring across the board. A new Cushman and Wakefield report found that Global retail markets have rebounded strongly during the last year, despite the fragile economic situation in many countries.

Main Streets Across the World surveyed 63 countries, reporting that more than 81% of respondents recorded retail rental rates increasing or remaining static over the last year. Developers and investors will be looking for ways to build on this positive trend in the 12 months to come.

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