Last year several long-awaited commercial outlets opened, providing the market with more than 850,000 square meters of modern retail space. This is an excellent result, and yet, this year seems to be even better-several facilities are scheduled for opening, from big multifunction complexes to small centers located in the middle of smaller cities. If all these projects are completed, supply will have grown by some 1 million sq m by the year's end. Why is the modern retail space pool in Poland constantly growing?
Demand still high
Owing to the good economic conditions, demand for modern retail space remains high and stable. A large proportion of people assess last year positively and look into the future with optimism, expecting further growth. As Poles become increasingly wealthy, they no longer focus solely on meeting their basic needs and spend more and more on entertainment, recreation and sports. Client requirements are changing due to the faster pace of life. In large cities, people prefer to go to a single place where they can do shopping, go to a fitness club or movie theater, meet with friends for bowling and then have a dinner. In smaller cities with a population of 80,000-100,000, residents want to do their shopping without the need to travel to a bigger city dozens of kilometers away. As a result, investors have developed an interest in smaller cities and look for new solutions in cities where the retail space market is approaching saturation level.
Investing with imagination
n It might seem that the number of shopping centers in Warsaw and other big cities is sufficient. Yet, contrary to skeptical opinions on the sense of opening new centers in, for example, Poznań, Wrocław or Cracow, there is still room for new facilities. Investors carefully develop new projects, to ensure they are modern and multifunctional, offering the clients new attractions.
These include, for example, Millennium Hall in Rzeszów, scheduled for opening late this year, or Metropolis in Poznań, Idylla in Wrocław and Bonarka in Cracow, which will be completed in 2010.
The other strategy of investors in cities with high market saturation calls for extension, redevelopment and repositioning of older retail facilities that seem less attractive in the era of third- and fourth-generation shopping centers. For example, this year Wzgórze Gdynia will gain an additional 26,000 sq m, and Galeria Łódzka will be extended by 5,000 sq m.
Other big Polish cities will soon see the opening of modern shopping centers-Alfa in Białystok, Forum in Koszalin, and Focus Park in Bydgoszcz. But the biggest number of centers will open in cities with 80,000-130,000 residents. Examples include Jantar in Słupsk, Pogoria in Dąbrowa Górnicza, Karolinka in Opole, Focus Park in Zielona Góra and Galeria Wisła in Płock. In this case, center size is adapted to the demand in smaller cities and local resident needs. They will find modern brands there, along with fashionable restaurants and entertainment.
Warsaw and other big cities will also see the opening of smaller shopping centers combined with office or residential space. They will offer basic store types and services, food stores and catering outlets. Examples include Galeria Rembielińska in Warsaw where a large residential complex includes a shopping center and Hala Koszyki that will combine a small shopping mall (10,000 sq m) with elegant apartments.
New Retail Director at Colliers
Małgorzata Trzaskowska became retail director at Colliers International in January. She is responsible for managing the department, supervision of space rental, and building and maintaining relations with key clients. She has over 10 years of experience on the commercial property market. Previously she worked at Hit Polska, and then at Tesco as retail space rental manager. Recently she worked for Quinlan Private Golub developer company and handled commercialization of the company's shopping centers of 60,000 sq m in total.