Last year was supposed to be the year that the world got back on track and businesses in all forms across the world got back to ‘normal’. This ended up not being the case as the cost of living, political unrest and Covid-19 continued to be global concerns and while none of it is by no means gone, the world has certainly began 2023 in an upbeat, ‘this is the year’ approach and this is reflected in the retail real estate sector as projects around the globe begin to take shape.

The real estate industry is moving beyond what it perceives as cyclical headwinds – i.e., rising interest rates, declining gross domestic product (GDP), sinking deal flows – and taking a long-term approach to real estate assets. The mood among the real estate professionals this year’s is one of cautious optimism, this is according to the ‘Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2023’ by PwC.

This year’s Emerging Trends report also reconfirms two sometimes contradictory property market trends: Aspects of the industry are “normalising” (reverting to pre-COVID patterns), while others appear to have permanently changed as the pandemic has altered how and where we use different types of properties.

With this in mind, RLI is dedicating the next few pages to those shopping centre, mixed-use and experiential developments that are continuing to move forward and on course to open in the coming months and years, adding to this cautious optimism that is engulfing the industry as 2023 begins to take shape.

The Landmark Tijuana, Tijuana, Mexico
Developer: Thor Urbana

Another project under development by Thor Urbana is The Landmark Tijuana, which is a project that is located in the Golden Zone, the area with the highest real estate growth in the city of Tijuana in Mexico. The Landmark Tijuana will bring together the best shopping, dining and entertainment offerings unlike anywhere else in the area. It will be complemented by an exclusive residential tower, luxury hotel and class A+ office spaces to become the new place to live, work and play. The lifestyle centre will feature 308,000sq ft of leasable area, whilst the surround facilities within the scheme will include 154,000sq ft of A+ office space, 190 residences, a brand new hotel with over 200 rooms, more than 2,000 car parking spaces and all this will open to the public in spring of next year. The upcoming project will offer a unique mixture of cultural diversity from the region, integrating itself into an existing, bicultural, vibrant community in search of exceptional experiences. The Landmark Tijuana will transform the lifestyle of every person who has the chance to experience this most innovative development in northern Mexico.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) has announced Mill Creek Residential (MCR) as co-developer for the first phase of the landmark transformation of Westfield Garden State Plaza in Bergen County, New Jersey. Anticipated to break ground in 2024 and slated to open to residents in 2026, the first phase will include the construction of 550 luxury apartment homes that will be integrated with the shopping centre via a one-acre ‘green town’ for residents, visitors and shoppers to enjoy, as well as introduce a ‘main street’ outdoor district featuring restaurants and everyday conveniences and services. The development will also include significant community and sustainability features such as new parks and greenspaces, green building construction, upgraded connectivity to public transportation networks, electric vehicle charging stations and the restoration of a section of the beloved local Sprout Brook. Aligned with this vision, Garden State Plaza will be completely reimagined, with surface parking areas to the west of the shopping centre converted into modern luxury apartment homes, plazas, parks, gardens, health and wellness amenities, commercial office space, as well as a transit centre – alongside new outdoor shops, restaurants and community event spaces. The centre will appeal to shoppers and residents alike: the perfect place to find the latest fashions, enjoy premier dining, socialise, take a walk or ride a bike, enjoy concerts and cultural festivals and so much more.

Pavilion Damansara Heights Mall, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Developer: Kuala Lumpur Pavilion

Malaysian mall operator, Kuala Lumpur Pavilion, has set the opening time frame for the city’s latest luxury shopping development, Pavilion Damansara Heights Mall, to open in May this year. Located in the neighbourhood of Damansara Heights, the development spans more than one million square feet and six storeys. The company said more than 70 per cent of the shopping complex’s retail space has been secured by tenants, ranging from F&B players and luxury brands to lifestyle. As of today, 129 tenants have confirmed opening stores in Pavilion Damansara Heights Mall, including Swarovski, Aesop, Harvey Norman, Diptyque and Food Republic. Pavilion Damansara Heights Mall will be a premium lifestyle destination that sets the standard for curated dining, contemporary retail and customised leisure indulgences in the region.

Tokyo Tokiwabashi, Tokyo, Japan
Developer: Mitsubishi Estate Co

The large-scale redevelopment of Tokyo Tokiwabashi by Mitsubishi Estate Co in the Tokiwabashi District in front of Tokyo station covers an area of 3.1ha and will be the largest project in the vicinity. The project comprises the following: two large-scale mixed-use buildings, Tower-A and B; an underground substation, Building C; a sewage pump facility, Tower-D; a large plaza; and Tokiwabashi Park (building names are provisional). One feature of this project is that the work will be carried out in stages while enhancing the functions of key urban infrastructure such as the substation and sewage pump facility. Tower-A was completed at the end of June 2021. The four buildings will be 140,000sq m, 490,000sq m, 20,000sq m and 30,000sq m in size, providing a mix of offices, retail and parking. The opening dates for this project are spread between 2021 and 2027.

The renewed Shopping Mall Zuidplein has been opened by the mayor of Rotterdam Aboutaleb. Dutch-based architectural firm TconcepT designed a renewed fresh interior with some impressive shopfronts for the outdated ’70s shopping mall of 60,000sq m GLA, the mall also got an extension of 7,000sq m GLA with convenience stores. Zuidplein is the main shopping centre of the southern part of Rotterdam with over 160 shops and is one of the biggest shopping malls in The Netherlands. The mall is the centre of the Heart of the South mixed-use densification area that includes residences, a cinema, a theatre, hotel and a convention centre. The upgrade of Shopping Mall Zuidplein by the Owners Association of the shopping centre of Zuidplein focussed primarily on improving the quality, circulation and the experience of the mall.

Tbilisi Outlet Village, Tbilisi, Georgia
Developers: Georgian Outlets & Resource Group & The Outlet Resource Group

Tbilisi Outlet Village, located 30 minutes south-east of the capital of Georgia will be the first outlet at the crossroads of East and West when it opens in autumn 2023. Targeted to become the number one in Central and Eastern Europe, it will be a completely new shopping experience for Georgia, one that has no analogues in the region, a fusion of tradition and modernity. Consisting of 12,500sq m GLA and 70 units it will bring together well-known labels from Europe, the US and Georgia. Cross border travelling from Russia and Ukraine has been skyrocketing this year, adding significant purchasing power to the country. A strong gastronomic offer will be of particular focus given the country’s food culture and its 8,000 year-old history in winemaking. Phase 2 is scheduled to follow within the three years after the opening of phase 1, bringing the project to a total of 20,000sq m GLA and 110 units. The scheme is under development by Georgian Outlets & Resource Group & The Outlet Resource Group.

Westfield Hamburg Uberseequartier, Hamburg, Germany
Developer: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

The largest city-centre project in Europe, Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier is set to become a new urban community hotspot in Germany. Encompassing a unique culture, leisure, entertainment and dining offer, it will feature a 10-screen flagship cinema, beauty and wellness centres, international and local restaurants, bars and cafés and the latest trends in entertainment technology. This mixed-use urban district will feature flexible offices with 360° views over HafenCity and the harbour, modern apartments with direct access to the waterfront, three hotels and a 200-store shopping centre offering the best local and international brands together with a wide range of services and digital innovations, for an enhanced customer journey. The shopping centre itself will span 80,500sq m of retail, leisure and restaurant space and it is set to open in the second half of 2023 by developers Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. The scheme will expand the Hamburg City metropolitan area by 40 per cent and the proportion of public and publicly accessible private open spaces is 38 per cent.

The Ellinikon, Athens, Greece
Developer: Lamda Development

Lamda Development has revealed its plans for Riviera Galleria and Commercial Hub retail destinations at The Ellinikon, Greece’s largest ever development project built on the former Athens airport. With more than 23,000sq m of luxury shopping, exceptional dining and first-class entertainment space, the Kengo Kuma-designed Riviera Galleria will become Greece’s most premium retail scene and the jewel of the Athenian Riviera. The Riviera Galleria will revolutionise Athens’ retail scene with high-end offerings, events, pop-ups and exhibitions, fashion shows, concerts and art exhibitions. Meanwhile, The Commercial Hub, designed by internationally renowned Hong Kong-based architecture firm Aedas, will be a truly expansive offering with popular international brands and emerging Greek retailers. The ‘mall of the future’ will be a lifestyle centre for a myriad of experiences while setting a new global benchmark for sustainable retail destinations. It will be the largest and most contemporary commercial complex in Greece, capped by a futuristic mixed-use tower that offers spectacular views. In addition the scheme will house 27,500sq m of WELL-certified office space and targeting LEED Gold certification—the first such accreditation for a mall in Greece. This groundbreaking development is on course to open in 2025.

The Crossings in Dublin, Republic of Ireland will be a destination and a new vibrant shopping and retail environment to serve the affluent and growing catchment and put The Crossings, Adamstown on the map in terms of modern retailing. The first phase of The Crossings is to be delivered on a phased basis during Q1/Q2 2023 which will see 11,700sq m of retail space alongside 279 residential units. When fully complete, The Crossings will comprise of 975 residential units, 18,000sq m of retail space and 3,500sq m of commercial uses to include a civic/library building, creche, enterprise centre and primary care facility. Under development by Quintain who are best known for the transformation of Wembley Park in London and the third largest developer in Ireland, The Crossings is being designed to be a truly mixed-use community with a 2-acre village green as the focal point for the area as a place to unwind and dine and to bring people together at events, artisan markets and family fun days.

Cluj-Napoca Project, Romania
Developer: IULIUS Group

With more than a decade’s worth of expertise in developing and operating mixed-use urban regeneration complexes in Romania, IULIUS Group is now launching a new project in Cluj-Napoca. The investment is upwards of half a billion Euro and focuses on the Carbochim platform, set to become the largest urban reconversion project on the Romanian market. This urban development endeavour will transform the industrial area into a vibrant space in Cluj and will be integrated as part of the city. The Carbochim factory will be relocated this year and upgraded, without any periods of business interruption. The new project includes: the largest retail area in the country at 115,000sq m, a centre dedicated to performing arts, conservation of two industrial heritage buildings and reintroduction thereof into the public circuit, a model of integrated approach to green spaces, connecting the urban garden spanning on over four hectares with the adjacent parks and a complete reconfiguration of the road and pedestrian infrastructure.

Eurovea Expansion, Slovakia
Developer: J&T Real Eastate

The construction of Eurovea’s expansion in Slovakia is in full swing. The shopping mall will be opening in April 2023 with a new design. The project is a clear symbol and indicator for the ongoing mixed-use trend. The development company J&T Real Estate has continued its implementation of the new Eurovea City neighbourhood on the Danube embankment in the modern centre of Bratislava, which is gradually expanding. As part of the expansion of the Eurovea project, not only will the popular shopping mall be expanding by next spring, ultimately offering over 85,000sq m of shops, services, entertainment and gastronomy, but there will also be two new office buildings Pribinova X and Y and the Eurovea Riverside block of flats. The first Slovak residential skyscraper called Eurovea Tower will be a new landmark on the Bratislava skyline. It has already risen to a height of 40 of the total planned 45 floors. The planned height is 168m.

VIA Outlets – the leading owner-operator in redefining the outlet shopping experience with a portfolio of eleven premium outlet centres in nine European countries – is working on a 17.5 million euros expansion programme for its Sevilla Fashion Outlet, the first Premium outlet shopping destination in Seville, creating 150 new jobs for the local community whilst contributing to the economic growth of the region. Due for completion in the last quarter of 2023, the shopping destination is poised to become Andalusia’s new landmark premium shopping offer. The outlet shopping destination will grow both in size and services with an increase of close to 20 per cent in gross leasable area, reaching 18,396.6sq m and the creation of 17 new spaces to host a total of 80 stores in the entire centre. The extension will allow the entry of large national and international fashion brands and a completely new hospitality offer. To accommodate the expected increase in clientèle, the parking had some recent renovations to increase capacity by 80 per cent.

Paddington Square, London, UK
Developer: Sellar

Paddington Square is the centrepiece of Paddington’s regeneration, a new working, shopping, dining and cultural quarter created by the world-renowned architect Renzo Piano and Shard developer Sellar, in partnership with Hotel Properties Limited. At its heart is a light-filled crystalline building providing 14 floors of workspace incorporating wellbeing and sustainability features and smart technology, 80,000sq ft of shops and restaurants that will serve the area’s 55,000 worker population, a projected 113.5 million commuters and an untapped affluent residential catchment. The scheme is seamlessly integrated with London’s Paddington Station, a landscaped public piazza with specially commissioned artworks that forms part of a new and improved station arrival experience, whilst a new Bakerloo Line ticket hall directly below the offices, connects a contemporary mix of 40 shops and restaurants. Paddington Square is scheduled to complete over a number of phases; the main office building was completed back in early autumn, with the 40 retail and dining spaces, public piazza and new Bakerloo Line ticket hall which will open in early 2023.

Al Khiran, Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City, Kuwait
Developer: Tamdeen

Middle East
Al Khiran, the region’s first hybrid outlet mall is set to open in 2023 and it will serve to meet heightened shopper expectation by offering a combination of high value and dynamic experiences through a mix of premium outlet shopping, unique dining options, cutting-edge entertainment and recreational leisure experiences like Kuwait’s largest marina with 900 berths, a 70,000sq m boardwalk, 1.25km walking track and outdoor gardens with an amphitheatre for year-long events. Additional features that are currently being planned before opening will include multipurpose sports facilities and a resort hotel. Under development by Tamdeen, the upcoming outlet mall will soon be the main commercial centre in the South of Kuwait serving as the Central Business District of the area.

Being developed by Azad Properties and on course to open this year, the upcoming Souq7 development in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia celebrates legacy and culture in an entirely reimagined souq setup. It reflects modernity and innovation in line with Vision 2030, while also embracing the Middle East’s originality, stimulating the senses and inciting a sense of discovery. Following the “one-stop-shop” motto where shoppers can find anything and everything they want under one roof, Souq7 will be divided into seven main zones coming together in a beautiful mosaic that forms an all-encompassing lifestyle and retail space. The zones are food stuff zone, the family entertainment zone, an electronics zone, furniture & home supplies zone, building material zone, automotive zone and a multi-use zone. Spreading over 728,000sq m of space, Souq7 will feature 4,000 shops, around 7,000 parking spaces, 108 buildings and five mosques.

Saadiyat Grove, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Developer: Aldar Properties

Master developers Aldar are quite literally shaping Abu Dhabi’s future with their visionary leisure, retail and entertainment projects across the emirate. But some of their most exciting upcoming work is on Saadiyat Island. Saadiyat Grove will play a large part in the look and layout of the island, a blended leisure, commercial and residential project that looks to be linking (or close enough) the individual culture mega projects and the beachfront entertainment district of Mamsha Al Saadiyat. The launch date is set for some time in 2023. There’ll be a ‘Town Square’, more than 70 retail stores, a gym, cinema, offices and 50,000sq m of dining space.

Designed and developed by DAMAC Properties as their flagship community mall, DAMAC Ventura is a bold new venture into retail in DAMAC Hills 1 in Dubai. This is a master community with 10,000 high profile residents that curates a one-of-a-kind living experience. DAMAC Ventura is conveniently located on Hessa Street, offers a well-thought mix and once complete, residents will be spoilt for choice with the mall’s 36 retail stores, which includes 10 F&B outlets and a supermarket. This will be the second Spinneys in the DAMAC Hills community and will be much bigger in size at 28,600sq ft. The mall will also have health and recreation features such as its very own medical centre, as well as a spa and a gym. The upcoming mall is set to open its doors in 2023.