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edition 1 (217)
January 2017
Eurobuild Awards

Third time on top

Shopping Centre of the Year in Poland: Galeria Echo in Kielce

Tomasz Szpyt

Third time on top
Wojciech Knawa, board member of Echo Polska Properties

Galeria Echo celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2016. And now has to make room in its huge trophy cabinet for its latest gong – its third Eurobuild Award

Galeria Echo in Kielce has been winning prizes and honourable mentions since its re-opening after extensive reconstruction work in 2011. That year it won an international award – Best Redeveloped Shopping Centre at the MAPIC Awards. A year later the building received the recognition of the Polish Council of Shopping Centres for the changes carried out during its redevelopment. In 2013 the centre scooped up two more awards: the Best Shopping Centre in Poland in the tenants’ vote at the Eurobuild Awards 2013 and the Consumers’ Golden Laurel 2013, which is decided in a poll of shoppers. In 2014, for the second year running representatives of its developer, Echo Investment, were on the podium once again at the Eurobuild Awards Gala to receive the statuette for the award voted on by shopping centre tenants. Another year passed and in 2015 Galeria Echo again came out triumphant at the Eurobuild Awards. However, by this time the mall had a new owner: Echo Polska Properties. “I was overjoyed at the fact that once again our tenants have appreciated our efforts, especially as this is the third time we have received the award in the past four years,” exclaimed Wojciech Knawa, a board member of Echo Polska Properties. “You have to work hard to win an award like this so I’m proud of what we have managed to accomplish so far. This award is the result of the work of the many people on the management team of our shopping centre, who understand what effective cooperation with tenants is all about. A few years ago we started up the Tenant Academy to enhance the business effectiveness of tenants through training sessions and workshops held on the tenants’ own premises. This is, of course, only possible thanks to the tenants’ openness to cooperation and we are grateful for that. And I must not forget about the leasing department at Echo Investment, which is responsible for the excellent tenant-mix in the centre,” emphasises Wojciech Knawa.

A vibrant centre

The redeveloped Galeria Echo was opened on August 18th, 2011, after the extension of a shopping centre that had been operating on ul. Świętokrzyska in the city since 2002. It has been one of the biggest shopping centres in the region ever since, with a total area of 159,000 sqm and a retail area of 70,000 sqm, comprising more than 300 stores, as well as food and entertainment sections. The car park contains spaces for 2,500 vehicles. Today Galeria Echo has almost 44,000 Facebook fans and receives 9.5 mln visitors a year. However, increasingly demanding customers now need something more than a mere shopping experience. “These days a shopping centre is not only about the shopping. Therefore, apart from our wide range of brands, we have to offer something more to our customers: a wide range of entertainment, a superb Helios multiplex, a Pure fitness centre, a bowling alley, and an attractive food offer consisting not only of a well-organised food court but also complemented with quality restaurants and cafés. Despite all this, we are constantly working on supplementing our offer with additional functions. Recently an Omega clinic has been opened, where our customers can receive an extensive range of medical services. The centre’s strengths also include the functionality of its design, the large and convenient car park, the relaxation zone, the children’s fun zone and the stage where we hold marketing events for our customers, including for the younger ones,” boasts Wojciech Knawa. “We are trying to improve the functionality and the centre’s range of goods and services so that our customers can feel even more comfortable spending their time here. Events are an essential part of our marketing strategy. We want our customers to have the chance to win attractive prizes while shopping, which is why we often organise lotteries with cash prizes. And we also hold a series of attractive marketing events during the year for the youngest visitors to the centre,” adds the representative of Echo Polska Properties.

Tenants know better

But it is not only the shoppers, who vote with their visits and appreciate the efforts of the centre owner, but also the tenants – as is confirmed by the Eurobuild Tenants’ Awards it has won. The best indicator of the building’s popularity among the latter is the fact that 100 pct of the tenants surveyed by the Millward Brown research institute for Eurobuild said they would choose Galeria Echo again if they were looking for space for lease. The tenants are also happy with the turnover they generate in the mall. Among the factors they regard as very good are its technical installations, architectural quality, the mobile apps for getting around, its spacious car park and the level of management. “I have been a tenant of Galeria Echo since the very beginning, in 2002. Our cooperation has been very good on all levels, and, most of all, I appreciate the cooperation with the administration and the centre’s director, Grzegorz Czekaj. What adds more value to our cooperation is the fact that Mr Czekaj has been here since 2002 too, as the director, so he knows the ropes and has extensive knowledge about all the tenants,” comments Małgorzata Kołosowska of Koma, which runs a Big Star franchise store and a Magia boutique in Galeria Echo. Among the strengths of the centre she includes: its varied retail offer, the high footfall, the marked parking spaces and the charity events held within it. To avoid getting too ecstatic about the centre, she does mention one weak point it has. “There are not enough entrances for vehicles into Galeria Echo. There is just one main and one side entrance – but, unfortunately, this is a problem that it’s impossible to fix,” she laments. “There is always a downside. It is never so good that it can’t be made any better. There is always something that can be improved both in terms of the retail offer and the functionality. The most important thing is to improve the quality of the management,” insists Wojciech Knawa.

Galeria Echo, Kielce

Opening: 2002/2011

Total area: 159,000 sqm

Leasable area: 70,000 sqm

Main tenants:
Jula, Komfort, Inditex, LPP, C&A, Helios, TK Maxx

Developer: Echo Investment

Owner of the facility: Echo Polska Properties

Address: Kielce, ul. Świętokrzyska 20

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