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Special supplement for edition 5 (235)
November 2018
New shopping centre

Flagship sails into Budapest

Rafał Ostrowski

Flagship sails into Budapest
The centre has been designed by Paulinyi-Reith & Partners

On November 7th the cornerstone ceremony will be held for Etele Plaza, officially marking the start of the construction of one of the largest shopping centres in Hungary. Groundwork has been underway since May – and now the 137,000 sqm gba centre with 55,000 sqm gla is each day becoming rather more than just the glint in the investor’s eye it once was.

Located at Hungary’s largest multimodal transportation hub, the EUR 300 mln investment forms part of Futureal Group’s 36 ha regeneration project for the city’s Kelenföld neighbourhood. With more than 750,000 sqm of residential, office and retail development planned by the group in partnership with other developers, as well as the investment by the state in the local transport infrastructure. This is one of Europe’s largest public transport brownfield investments, involving the redevelopment of the Kelenföld railway station, the newly built Metro 4 terminus, as well as the adjacent bus station, which together serve 165,000 passengers a day.

Once completed, it is estimated that Etele Plaza will attract around 40,000 customers a day from the capital, the suburbs and other towns via the transport hub as well as the M1 and M7 motorways that pass by the shopping centre. The total catchment area comes to 2.1 mln people living within 30 min of the centre using public transport. More than 240,000 residents live within a 10 min ride and over half a million within 20 min. Their purchasing power is 25 pct higher than the national average.

Fashion meets technology

Etele Plaza will comprise 180 stores on three floors. According to the plans, the largest fashion brands, each leasing over 1,000 sqm of retail space in the centre, are to be represented in a larger concentration here than anywhere else in Hungary. “There is a huge demand for shopping centre space, especially from fashion brands due the massive expansion in that sector and the short supply of available shopping centre space. These brands will also be able to offer their full range of products in Etele Plaza,” explains Tibor Tatár, the CEO of Futureal. Futureal expects that the occupancy rate will exceed 35 pct this month. There will also be a strong focus on entertainment, with a multiplex cinema, a Kids Play centre, cafés and restaurants on all levels, a chill-out lounge, a roof terrace and a drinks bar. A car park with almost 1,300 spaces will also be provided, including 200 extra large family parking spaces. This will feature an advanced location and navigation system that uses a mobile app to help customers identify empty spaces and – once they have done so – to also help them locate the stores or services they require.

The exterior of the shopping centre will be dominated by the largest curtain wall structure in Hungary (with a height and width of 30 m) above the main entrance, as well as a patchwork of large metal boxes protruding from the façades. Meanwhile, the interior will feature an almost 200 sqm interactive LED display. The centre, which has been designed by Paulinyi-Reith & Partners, obtained BREEAM green certification in its planning phase.

Etele Plaza will attract around 40,000 customers a day

Financing in place

One milestone in the project’s development was the EUR 150 mln financing loan provided in September jointly by a consortium of UniCredit and Erste Group for the construction and long term operation of the centre. This represents one of the largest shopping centre-related financing deals in Hungary in the last ten years. “Erste Group and Futureal Group have been in a close business partnership for more than a decade. In the course of our cooperation, our bank has participated in the financing of several successful office development projects, underlining our strong commitment to financial partnership and value creation. We are very pleased that this successful relationship has reached a new landmark with the financing of Futureal Group’s latest flagship project,” declared Zoltán Balázs, the head of real estate and structured finance at Erste Bank Hungary. The consortium is led by UniCredit, which is also the bookrunner and the facility agent. “Our goal is to satisfy our clients’ financing needs with competitive project and syndicated loans tailored to their individual needs, thereby contributing to the implementation of their major projects. This is our approach in the case of Etele Plaza, one of the most significant projects in the Central and Eastern European property market,” added Gábor Vörös, the head of financing at UniCredit Bank.

Etele Plaza will comprise 180 stores on three floors

Building a better Buda

For Futureal, which has an impressive development record of more than 90 real estate projects with a total value of EUR 3 bln, Etele Plaza is now its most important retail development. Pedrano Group acts as the general contractor for the project. The construction site is close to another large and iconic office project by Futureal – Budapest One Business Park in Őrmező. In the first phase of the 65,000 sqm gla complex, almost 25,000 sqm of offices will be developed along with 2,600 sqm of retail and service space, spacious green areas and 480 parking spaces for the thousands of employees who will work in the business park. Budapest One was one of the first projects of its kind in Hungary to obtain international Well Building Platinum Precertification, which, at the design stage of a building, focuses on how beneficial its impact will be on its future users’ health and well-being. “The construction of Budapest One and Etele Plaza will add new momentum to the most important area of South West Budapest. The unique shopping and entertainment centre will offer shopping possibilities that are currently unavailable in this area, in the heart of South Buda, but still only 10 minutes from the city centre. We paid particular attention to sustainability and innovation requirements in the planning and design of the building, so that Budapest’s first smart mall will welcome visitors with an entirely new customer experience,” claims Futureal’s CEO Tibor Tatár. ν
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