Almost half of all shopping centers in Germany are in immediate need of revitalization. This does not simply mean a new coat of paint for the facade but rather a complete re-adjustment of the retail property. There are diverse reasons for a delay of modernizations which range from a lack of awareness of the need for revitalization, complex ownership situations, a lack of financial resources to the lack of know-how. If these issues are not addressed, one will end up in a race to the bottom including a decrease in footfall, vacancies, and value decrease of the entire property. This is frequently paralleled by a negative impact on the neighborhood.
Sometimes even more recently opened shopping centers do not run smoothly. The most frequent deficiencies are poor floor plans, bad positioning of anchor tenants as well as a non-customized branch and tenant mix. A lot half of the struggling centers are simply not big enough and therefore do not attract sufficient numbers of visitors. Some of the centers have too many stories, many centers also fail due to management mistakes.
Constant modernization, adjustments, and extensions of shopping centers are part of the daily routine to an experienced shopping center operator like ECE. You can only be successful if you keep your center on track with the latest developments. Yet more important than current trends for the center planning is the essential flexibility to respond to new retail developments. A simple rule which has often been disregarded.
"Hamburger Meile" in Hamburg is a role model for a revitalization of a shopping center which used to be no longer competitive. After a downward trend for many years, ECE invested approximately 200 million euros in a joint venture for the acquisition and the refurbishment of the shopping center "Hamburger Strasse", which was built in 1970 and which had 60 percent vacancies. Therefore, the center was refurbished:
- The branch mix was completely adjusted – to a young, trendy target-group
- The 600 meter long mall was re-designed and structured into Hamburg related themes such as "Kiez" (red-light district), "Hafen" (harbor) and "Sport" (sports).
- The new food court became a gastronomical focus with more than 360 seats. It is unique in Hamburg.
The result: Since its re-opening in 2010, turnovers and footfall have increased and Hamburger Meile has become a vibrant feature of the district of Barmbek.