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Special supplement for edition 11 (215)
November 2016
Interview

Extension of success

Anna Pakulniewicz

Extension of success
Anna Malarczyk-Arcidiacono, the managing director for Polish commercial projects of Futureal

The success of Nova Park in Gorzów Wielkopolski has led Futureal to take the decision to enlarge the shopping centre. We spoke to Anna Malarczyk-Arcidiacono, the managing director for Polish commercial projects at Futureal, about its plans for the city’s largest mall.

Anna Pakulniewicz Eurobuild Central & Eastern Europe: Why did you decide to extend the centre?

Anna Malarczyk-Arcidiacono, managing director, Polish commercial projects, Futureal: Since its opening in 2013, Nova Park has been performing very well in terms of both footfall and tenant turnover. The turnover has been growing steadily over the last few years, with an annual growth of around 17–18 pct and this is expected to continue over the years to come. This means the existing 33,000 sqm gla is definitely not enough, due to the high demand from customers and tenants. It is worth mentioning that the average amount of shopping per customer entering the centre is above PLN 50, which is considered a very good figure in regional cities of Poland. Due to our strategic tenant mix, Nova Park has not only established a strong position on the retail market, but more importantly has become for many people from Gorzów and surrounding areas a dynamic destination for shopping and spending free time. It is estimated that almost 40 pct of customers come to Nova Park by car, many of them from outside Gorzów, as the city has easy access to the no. 22 main road and the S3 expressway.

How will the tenant mix in the extended Nova Park change?

This investment is designed to attract new shoppers seeking exceptional choice and a diverse range of retailers. Therefore we want to add brands that we could not previously accommodate due to our high occupancy. Brands interested in relocating their stores from other centres and those that have not operated in Gorzów so far will now have the opportunity to open in the extended Nova Park. We will be trying to get as many of them as possible into the centre, as what we see as our biggest advantage is our diversified and unique tenant mix. We feel that with a larger fashion range and a wider selection of restaurants, Nova Park will easily become the most convenient shopping centre destination in Gorzów for shoppers to visit and spend their time. Having brands such as Pull&Bear, Stradivarius and Bershka we already have a unique range of fashion retailers in the city and it is our aim to develop it further. Returning to the subject of the extension, we have had several new signings recently, but at the moment I can only say that these include Yes, Duka, By o La La and Giacomo Conti.

So which tenants are we now going to see in the enlarged Nova Park? And from which segments?

Its diversified tenant mix with a balanced ratio of core brands and individual offers has already contributed to setting the centre apart and gives customers a compelling reason to shop here. In recent years we have noticed that eating out is becoming increasingly popular among our customers and there is a large demand for comfortable areas where they can spend time with their family or friends. In response to that, we have introduced a Sphinx restaurant and new café with outdoor seating. We are also negotiating terms with an Italian restaurant chain. Our customers usually visit us along with their families, so the food and beverages range needs to meet their requirements. We believe that the extension of the existing project will fulfil not only today’s expectations but also the demands of the future, allowing us to make all our customers happy.

Are you also planning changes in terms of the pedestrian passageways? What about the redevelopment and changes near the roundabout you need to cross in order to get to Nova Park?

We would like to improve the current underpass to make it comfortable for everyone who uses it. We have agreed with the local authorities that this place – the entire area around our shopping centre, along the river Warta – needs to be redeveloped and we are interested in participating in this project. However, at the moment it is too early to go into details.

Would this be a Futureal project or a partnership with the town?

It will be a joint project between Futureal, the town and maybe other enterprises in the area. The city council has drawn up a plan for the revitalisation of this part of the town, to create an attractive, vibrant, people- friendly and prosperous part of Gorzów. Unlocking the potential of the riverbank is also very important. Nova Park is located in close proximity to the Warta river and we are interested in creating new attractions there and amenities for the community to transform this special part of the city into a year-round destination of choice for locals and visitors alike. What we have been seeing for many years is that people in Gorzów are enthusiastic about outdoor and indoor activities. They like spending their spare time in the gym or jogging along the river. To meet those needs, a new fitness club has been opened in Nova Park and has since enjoyed enormous popularity among our customers.

When will we finally be seeing the new, larger Nova Park?

Planning permission has already been granted for the first phase of extension, which means that we can start the construction work. The first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2018 and will add around 3,500 sqm. During this stage, we would like to focus on redeveloping the fashion sections. This will involve the relocation of a few stores as well as the introduction of new brands. The second phase, comprising an additional 6,500 sqm gla, is expected to be opened in 2020. Over this period we are planning to redevelop our food area and also the main entrance. Through this two-phase project, the leasable retail area of Nova Park will be increased by around 10,000 sqm to 43,000 sqm gla. Additionally, our rooftop car park will also be enlarged.

What will the architectural approach for the new section be? Has it been designed by the same architects as before?

No, this time Chapman Taylor in cooperation with local studio M&G Autorskie Biuro Projektów have been appointed to design the extension. Our aim is to give Nova Park a modern and unique appearance that stands out decisively from the architecture of the surrounding buildings. For example, the new façade has been designed to reflect the movement and the flow of the river, creating a distinctive character for the whole building. The existing façade, with its characteristic glass entrance, will also be renovated. When it comes to the interiors, the main corridor will be well-lit by natural light thanks to the glass roof.

Where did the decision to change its look come from?

We wanted to give the centre a completely dynamic new look and feel. We believe that there should be a distinction between the current and the new section of the building. But both parts should mirror the latest trends in architecture and design.

Cafés and restaurants are also to be opened next to the new entrance, on the ground floor and on the first floor, with the tables outside, is that right?

We are planning to extend the food and beverages range, adding cafés and restaurants. We are considering a few options for this section and the final decision has not yet been made.

What other tenants will be opening in the centres new section?

Although we have only been in the leasing process since September, we have been receiving many inquiries – not only from national brands but also from well-known international companies as well. We expect to reach 100 pct occupancy by the end of Q3 2017.

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