New European schemes showcased at MAPIC 2018

Much of the focus on shopping centres has been around redevelopment and asset management over recent years, as Europe’s mature retail market and the shift towards online and experience spend has slowed the need for new malls. Nonetheless, extensions and renovations are not the only projects to be seen at MAPIC this November, with a number of key projects being showcased.

In the UK one the major schemes currently underway is in Scotland. When TH Real Estate began work on the Edinburgh St James (ESJ) shopping centre in 2015, it knew it had to deliver something special in a city famous for its shopping, culture and tourism. In a £1bn partnership with APG Asset Management, the global fund manager has set about creating a space to match the aspirations of Edinburgh itself.

“We set about creating something that would be out of the top drawer of retail assets,” says Martin Perry, TH Real Estate’s director of development.

ESJ departs a long way from the traditional shopping-centre approach. It’s a project that is truly integrated with the city. It’s fully connected to the surrounding streets; it’s open 24 hours a day. We are connecting it up with existing cycle routes, pedestrian routes and public transport. – Martin Perry

But Perry isn’t just talking about ESJ being physically connected to the city: the team is working to make the centre a part of what, intangibly, makes Edinburgh unique.

I guess the obvious question is why are we developing a major scheme when others aren’t. It continues to be part of an overall vision, which has remained the same since started this project in 2007. The intention was always to integrate the project and make it part of the city, at multiple levels. Some of those are physical, in the way it interacts with Edinburgh, but also in terms of the festivals and events that take place in the city. – Martin Perry

We have been working with partnerships to see how we can support the cultural events and how we can bring companies and organisations together. So it’s really about how we connect at an emotional level and our view that Edinburgh St James is the city, which will be reflected in aspects such as the wayfinding being the same through the shopping centre as it is in the city,” he says.

Perry adds: “We’ll take our partnering abroad as well, working with the airlines and with tourist operators. The fact of the matter is overseas visitors are not coming to Edinburgh for the shopping, which is why the success of the city is so important to us, but we can do a lot of work to organise shopping days, translators, duty free and so on. We will be looking to add two more events to the Edinburgh calendar as well, with one around music, using the reputation the W Hotel has gained in other parts of the world. So we’ll be encouraging people to the city during some of the quieter times.”

Similarly, Apsys’ Bordeaux Saint-Jean scheme will give life to a new urban ideal, close to the railway station of the same name: a multi-faceted quarter that will combine a range of functions — living, working, sharing, spending, shopping — and blend harmoniously into the urban fabric. The project architecture, described as being both bold and respectful, will create new spaces for living and sharing. It will also link the station and the Garonne river, extending the dock experience with numerous small squares.

Apsys Bordeaux Saint-Jean MAPIC


Throughout Southern Europe, development is focused on mixed-use, future-proof spaces. A prime example is Westfield Milano, which will become the first Westfield branded centre in Italy when it opens in 2019. Situated in Segrate, with easy access to Linate airport, the 170,000 sq m scheme will house approximately 380 stores, a luxury village, leisure, entertainment and dining precincts, and 10,000 parking spaces, as well as the latest in digital technology, personalised shopping and tourism services.

Meanwhile, Merlata Mall, located near the Expo 2015 site in the north-west of Milan, will deliver 65,000 sq m of shopping in the middle of a park that is part of a wider brownfield redevelopment dubbed Cascina Merlata. With an expected footfall of around 10 million per year, the mall aims to become a central attraction for this new area of Milan when it opens in 2019.

Regional cities are also driving change, with the Alto Adige city of Bolzano attracting the UK’s David Chipperfield Architects for a downtown scheme that will transform an old bus station into a dynamic mixed-use development called WaltherPark. With a shopping centre at its heart, the scheme will feature high-quality residential, a hotel and F&B provision. Meanwhile, plans to significantly extend Bologna’s Gran Reno centre will transform the retail offering in the northern Italy city.

Waltherpark MAPIC


Elsewhere in Italy, investor-developer Aedes is working on its Caselle Torinese development scheme. The hugely ambitious open-air mall near Turin consists of more than 250 stores across 120,000 sq m of GLA, 15% of which will be focused on leisure.

Major schemes already under way in Spain include Compagnie de Phalsbourg’s Open Sky Shopping Center, which will bring 91,600 sq m GLA and 100 shops to the Torrejon de Ardoz area of the Spanish capital on its launch in early 2019. It will be flanked by The Village, a 22,000 sq m outlet designed by Philippe Starck.

MAPIC Compagnie de Phalsbourgs Open Sky Shopping Center

©Compagnie de Phalsbourgs

Meanwhile, key Spanish regional shopping-centre developments include the Torrecardenas mall from developer Bogaris. Designed by architect Chapman Taylor, the 60,000 sq m scheme in Almeria is set to open in 2019. Retailers such as Primark, Leroy Merlin, Media Markt and the complete offer from the Inditex group, including Zara, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Stradivarius, have committed to take space. Torrecardenas’ 150 commercial units are complemented by a multi-screen cinema, the first food court in Andalucia and an infant multi-adventure area.

And to the north of Europe, Oslo is the location of a major development called Bispevika. Located on Oslo’s waterfront, this is mixed-use scheme combining office, residential and retail, as well as a number of cultural elements. Remi Olsen, senior retail advisor for Bispevika at Akershus Eiendom, adds: “The location is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth. You may find more beautiful places, but they’re not downtown.”

Bispevika Olso MAPIC


Work on Bispevika started in 2001 and it is now 50% complete, with the phased opening of the remainder taking place between 2020 and 2024. Increasingly, Oslo, like Stockholm, is a tourist destination — albeit considerably more expensive — and Olsen says that he anticipates many of the scheme’s visitors coming from beyond Oslo.

Bispevika’s retail provision will span 14,000 sq m, with a total of 30,000 sq m when the dining and leisure elements are included. Maria Rognerud, Bispevika’s retail development director, says:

It’s important for us to keep cars away from the streets. We want there to be fewer cars and for it to be a good place to live in. – Maria Rognerud

In Moscow, ADG Group’s neighbourhood shopping-centre project, which has been showcased at MAPIC in recent years, is transforming 39 former cinemas into a new community mall concept. The project will see the debut of CJ CGV, the fifth largest cinema operator in the world, into Russia.



ADG says it has moved away from the traditional business model of a shopping centre to something that delivers a superior customer experience and satisfies the interests of local communities. At this year’s MAPIC, it will be exhibiting the proof of concept for its three different-sized centres: small with Angara, medium with Budapest and large with Sofia. For these, leisure and entertainment will account for 40% of GLA, with half apportioned to the cinema and half to the F&B component.

Grigory Pecherskiy, managing partner of ADG Group, says that research showed there was also potential for an edutainment offering within the neighbourhood centres. Accordingly, this will be introduced in the Angara scheme, which is due to open in March 2019. Pecherskiy says.

We see customer experience as the continuation and an inseparable part of the neighbourhood-centres branding. – Grigory Pecherskiy

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Mark Faithfull

Mark Faithfull is Editor of the MAPIC Preview and News Magazines, as well as Editor of online publication and analysis specialist Retail Property Analyst.

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