Europe’s city centers – shopping centers are part of them
By Alexander Otto, Chief Executive Officer of ECE
Shopping centers are an essential part of our city centers and can significantly contribute to their sustainable development. For quite some years now we have been experiencing a renaissance of the city centers; this trend has also arrived in the peoples’ and policy-makers consciousness. City centers are places of living, working, leisure, and shopping.
Integrated and tailor-made shopping centers can support this renaissance. As the cities’ partner, the shopping center industry can generate a win-win situation together with the cities and the existing retail. There are numerous best-practice examples that show how city and center can mutually benefit from each other.
In this respect, I would like to emphasize: well-integrated and professionally managed shopping centers can contribute to solving urban development problems. As magnet they bring further purchasing power to the city, also to the benefit of retailers outside the center. However, shopping centers cannot be a cure-all and completely compensate missing willingness to invest. Nonetheless, they often are the initiator that causes a city’s building owners and retailers to modernize their real estate and improve the way they present their goods according to the current state of the art.
Also shopping centers must be further developed and modified continuously. Since the requirements of cities, investors, retailers, and not least of all the visitors and customers are different today from what they were ten years ago. And they will have changed fundamentally in another ten years’ time. This makes it even more important to take this into consideration when developing shopping centers and during operation.
Below I would like to name five points, which, in my opinion, will influence the sustainable and successful development of shopping centers in the course of the next years.