Located on the fourth floor of MyZeil, FOODTOPIA features a unique food and entertainment offer with a variety of modern premium food concepts and special architecture with an urban flair, attractive design and the vibrant atmosphere of a market hall. The scheme also features outdoor terraces with a view of the Frankfurt skyline, an event space and a premium film theatre, rounding off the offering. “FOODTOPIA has been a long time coming,” states Jonathan Doughty, Global Head of Foodservice, Leisure and Placemaking at ECE Projektmanagement. “Myself and the ECE team began working on this over five years ago with the vision to create something new, something exciting and attractive and something that went way beyond a food court.” The project is a first in Germany and an example of redefining the role of shopping centres as retail, places for people and integrated leisure and food locations.
Born in the desert in Dubai at the Meydan Racecourse at an RLI event no less, the brief for FOODTOPIA was to create something different at a centre where space was available, a centre that needed to add something special on top of its already successful operation in a growing and vibrant city with a developing food scene. Since launching in April, the FOODTOPIA project has gone down very well, and this will only improve with the opening of the final phase, the Astor cinema, which launched last month. “I think one third of the 48,000 daily visitors are visiting the FOODTOPIA floor, but this is not the only reason to travel to MyZeil,” states Doughty. The customer journey begins with a view of the spectacular façade of the MyZeil shopping centre and all of the activity on the terraces, it then continues through the redesigned lobby and the short, but stunning trip up the escalator as it climbs four floors until they reach FOODTOPIA.
“We have created a place, not just a space. Many people talk about ‘Placemaking’ but FOODTOPIA is a perfect example of making a place that people want to go to, to use, to enjoy and to experience. The public wanted something different and FOODTOPIA delivered,” explains Doughty. The development offers seven different dining areas with 16 unique concepts, with many new to market concepts and combines an almost round-the-clock gastronomy offer from breakfast to cocktails in the evening. New operators have made their debut, such as Turkish casual dining concept Big Chefs which is new to Germany, whilst the modern Indian street food restaurant eatDOORI Deli and the local salad and wrap specialist Heidi and Paul are new to shopping centres.
“There are also flavours from around the world with Chipotle and Coa, and gorgeous healthy and tasty food from PokeYou! There truly is something for everyone in the town square in the sky and credit must go to Helmut Wittchen and Julia Blank on the ECE Projektmanagement team who were truly inspired in their leasing work,” says Doughty. The Astor Film Lounge, a stunning premium cinema recently opened its doors in addition to the food offers on the site. This is a true premiere, as the cinema is the first Astor Film Lounge ever in a shopping centre. Connectivity and accessibility was pivotal in the planning of this new space.
Doughty explains that it was almost empty beforehand and that it was a case of providing something that did not just ‘fill the space’ but ‘made a place’. “We needed to support the rest of the centre but also create an attraction in its own right. Fortunately, we had great connectivity and space to work with, with direct connections from the ground floor and from the office tower.” According to Doughty, it is the tenants and their offer and delivery which will decide if the project is a success in the long-term. In the world of shopping centre food, being good is not good enough any longer, and that they must strive to move their guests to reach a higher score on what he refers to as their ‘emotional index’.