The 2019 edition of the ICSC European Conference & Exhibition will be the 44th, and it is being held, like last year, at the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I in Barcelona, Spain. The event takes place next month over the 10-11 April for two days of meetings and networking for international delegates. Ahead of the ICSC’ flagship event, RLI takes this opportunity to highlight some of the key points of the event and zoom in on some of the landmark retail and leisure developments across the European continent.

The European Conference & Exhibition combines the idea exchange of ICSC’s European Conference with its innovative exhibition. Delegates who attend in Barcelona can expect to expand their individual network, be inspired, share practical insights and capitalise on retail trends to grow their business. This latest ICSC event will bring together over 1,000 leaders from more than 50 countries, covering sectors from retail, real estate, investment, F&B and proptech, everything and everyone attendees will need to know in one great place over two days. Much more than just commercial entities, successful shopping centres and retailers help build communities, fuel local economies and inspire innovation. To guarantee their future in the retail real estate industry, shopping centres and stores must continually evolve to deliver an experience beyond the simple purchase of goods and services. Ahead of the event, RLI has taken a look at a selection of the key projects that have recently completed, or are currently under development across Europe, take a look for yourself below…


Western Europe recorded a 23 per cent decrease in new shopping centre completion in 2017, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s European Shopping Centre Development 2018 report. A similar development trend has been seen in the majority of Western European countries. Increased activity was recorded in only a handful of markets (Spain, Portugal, Finland and Denmark), supported by an improved economic backdrop, urbanization and growing tourism. Shopping centre development also slowed in Central and
Eastern Europe, where annual completions declined by 23 per cent. Following the fall in development in 2017, the level of completions is expected to remain unchanged in 2018 and the 2018/19 development pipeline with 6.6 million square metres currently under construction is in line with the two years forecast, 12 months ago. The development of technology, changing consumer behaviour and the growth of e-commerce has created a challenging environment but also opportunities for shopping centre owners and retailers. Today’s shopping centres are very different from those which emerged twenty years ago and they will need to continue evolving in order to stay relevant to the increasingly savvy and discerning consumer.


In Verviers, a town in the east of Belgium and close to the Dutch and German border, City Mall has the ambition to build a shopping centre in the historical heart of the city. With 27,000sq m of gross leasable area, accommodating over a hundred shops and restaurants, the shopping centre that will be built on the banks of the Vesdre river is expected to boost the local retail offer, and will transform Verviers into a cross border shopping destination. It will offer a comprehensive and diverse range of shops by introducing major national and international brands mostly absent in the Verviers area up to now. Some 1,100 underground parking spaces will allow easy access to the five million expected visitors per year.

Delta Planet Mall in Varna, the newest big shopping and entertainment centre in Bulgaria has opened its doors. Launched on 28 March, Delta Planet Mall is based on the newly developed concept of retailtainment – a combination of shopping experiences, interactive interior and large integrated entertainment zones (more than 4,000sq m), which will ensure the customers’ immersive experience as well as prolonging dwell time and overall satisfaction. Delta Planet Mall, which has been developed by Delta Real Estate & AP Investments, will be located on four levels, two of which are ground levels due to the natural elevation of the terrain, on a total leasable area of 40,000sq m, thus claiming a prime position as the second biggest shopping centre out of Sofi a and the biggest newly constructed mall. In addition, it will have three underground levels for parking with 1,300 places. Opened last October in Estonia, T1 by developer Pro Kapital, is a new-generation shopping and entertainment centre and the newest and largest regional shopping centre in Tallinn. The shopping and entertainment centre has 52,000sq m of space on four levels – three floors of shopping with more than 200 shops and an entertainment level never seen before. The latter’s 11,500sq m of space features restaurants, a multiplex, trampoline centre, an autodrome, adventure park, children’s birthday party venues and a cafe with a Lottemaa (children’s book characters).

Bordeaux’s future Belvédère district by developer Bordeaux Euratlantique forms part of the metropolitan city centre’s extension on the right bank of the Garonne, and aims to create a new district close to the TGV railway station. Place du Belvédère, a square at the heart of the development and equivalent in size to Bordeaux’s Place de la Bourse, has a variety of ground floor shops. The district will comprise 50,000sq m of office space, 72,000sq m of housing and 10,000sq m of space for cafés/ restaurants, food shops, supermarkets, sporting and cultural facilities. The project was designed by architectural practices Güller Güller and Hondelatte Laporte.

ECE is developing the modern Cano shopping centre in Singen, which lies close to Lake Constance and the Swiss border. The 16,000sq m centre will be home to 85 units and will be located opposite the train station at the city’s main shopping street when it opens next year. Cano has six different entrances and exits leading into all directions and is therefore perfectly integrated into its urban environment. The architecture and design of the center are inspired by the volcanic legacy of the region and Singen’s traditional industries. The food court with its vintage design elements will be a real highlight of the centre. It will feature numerous cafés and restaurants with a large culinary choice and bring even more life to Singen. Etele Plaza is a 55,000sq m GLA shopping and entertainment centre under development by developer Futureal. The upcoming centre will be located in the top multi-modal public transportation hub of South Budapest.

The scheme is accommodating 180 retail units arranged over three commercial levels featuring all major fashion anchor stores, foodstore, multiplex cinema and various entertainment elements. Etele Plaza will feature more well-known brands than any other shopping centre in the capital. As well as fashion stores, the centre will also feature a large supermarket, multiplex cinema and a range of entertainment facilities. Cascina Merlata is a large-sized retail real estate project which will be built next to the Expo Milan 2015 site. With 192 shops, a GLA of approximately 65,000sq m and more than 10 million expected yearly visits, the Falcon Malls shopping centre is part of a wider urban redevelopment plan of 900,000sq m in the Cascina Merlata district, to the North-West of Milan. The Cascina Merlata commercial hub by developer Falcon Malls will split into two connected structures. The west wing and the Promenade will house the main retail and food offer, while the east wing will be mostly focusing on leisure and entertainment activities including the cinema, the food court and a supermarket.

Ada Mall, developed by GTC, is the next generation shopping centre to be built on Radnika Street in Belgrade, opposite from the popular recreational zone Ada Ciganlija. With a gross leasable area of 34,000sq m on five levels, the mall will offer a unique shopping experience, introducing new international brand names to the Serbian market. Ada Mall is designed to reflect the shape of a lake, boasting a glass and plaster facade covered with vertical wooden elements, green walls, terraces and gardens. All visitors will be able to use a planned pedestrian bridge which will connect the shopping center directly to Ada Lake. The complex will also feature three floors of underground parking with approximately 1,000 parking spaces when it opens later this year.

On 28 November 28 2018, Finestrelles opened with a commercial offer of 103 spaces from leader brands in fashion and restaurants, on a surface of 39,250 sq m. Located in Esplugues de Llobregat, the mall will attract more than 8.5 million yearly visitors from Barcelona and the region of Baix Llobregat. An Alcampo hypermarket, a gym from the Duet Fit chain, Media Markt, and a Decathlon store are the largest of Finestrelles’ flagships, as well as various Inditex group brands such as Zara, Bershka, Pull & Bear, and Oysho. Other fashion stores are H&M, Mango, Kiabi, and New Yorker. A large variety of restaurants amongst which we may find leaders such as McDonald’s, La Tagliatella, KFC, Blue Frog, Dunkin Coffee and Starbucks completes the offer for customers.

Coal Drops Yard, the new Heatherwick Studio-designed shopping and lifestyle district in London’s King’s Cross, was developed by Argent and opened its doors to the public on 26 October. Coal Drops Yard is be a vibrant new shopping district at the centre of King’s Cross, home to over 50 stores, restaurants and cafés, bringing together a community of like-minded brands in a reimagined set of historic buildings and arches directly adjacent to Granary Square and Regent’s Canal. No space at Coal Drops Yard is the same. Stores and restaurants are located in canalside arches fronting on to cobbled courtyards, within the original ‘coal drops’ themselves and across a series of raised iron viaducts. Larger statement stores sit at each street corner, with one dual-aspect space crowning the street, located directly beneath Heatherwick Studio’s striking ‘kissing’ rooftops.