Etele Plaza is a 55,000sq m GLA shopping and entertainment centre which is currently under development in the top multi-modal transportation hub of Hungary. Here RLI speaks to Tibor Tatár, CEO of Futureal, the real estate developer behind the project.
Etele Plaza, situated in Újbuda in Budapest’s District XI is Futureal Group’s latest commercial development and will have a total built area of 137,000sq m, making it the largest of its kind on the Western side of the city and the third largest in terms of rentable area in the Hungarian capital.
The upcoming shopping centre will combine unique architecture, the latest generation of shopping centre design, digital services and more top-of-the-line fashion brands than any other centre in Hungary.
Recently Futureal Group concluded a loan of €150M with a consortium led by UniCredit acting as Bookrunner and Facility Agent. UniCredit and Erste Group will finance Etele Plaza, marking it the largest shopping centre-related financing in Hungary over the past ten years.
“We are in the process of signing the first leasing contracts,” says Tibor Tatár, CEO of Futureal. “There is huge demand for shopping centre space especially from fashion brands due to the huge expansion in that sector and the low supply of available shopping centre space. The brands at Etele Plaza will be able to present their full range of products at our centre.”
This new development will feature 180 shops, and in addition to the fashion stores the centre will feature a supermarket, restaurants, cafes, a multiplex cinema, a gym, a children’s play centre and a range of other services with nearly 1,300 parking spaces.
The site will also be the first smart shopping mall in the area and the most up-to-date location and navigation system will facilitate parking in the building by indicating empty spaces, and it will also help customers to find their chosen stores or services through a mobile application.
“Etele Plaza will be the missing piece of the Budapest shopping scene and we estimate it will attract 40,000 customers every day from the capital, the suburbs and the further towns. The immediate catchment area of the new centre is one of the most densely populated areas of the city, where some 235,000 people live. All together there are over two million people in the site’s theoretical catchment area, and residents of this district represent 125 per cent of the nation’s average purchasing power with a relatively low retail supply,” explains Tatár.
The construction of the project is one of the ways in which the scheme will differ from other local and national developments. The exterior design of the centre will be dominated by the largest curtainwall structure of Hungary – with a height and width of 30m – above the main entrance and the retracted metal boxes that jump out from the facades. Internally, a nearly 200sq m interactive LED display will bring the latest generation of shopping centre design to the country.
Futureal Group paid particular attention to the requirements of sustainability and innovation during the planning and the designing of the building, and it will welcome guests with a customer experience never been seen before. The eco-friendly project has already obtained
So what does Tatár believe will be the key drivers behind any success the centre may have once opened?
“The visibility, location, the major fashion anchors, the leisure components, the next generation of shopping centre design, the digital solutions together will create an exclusive customer experience that will drive success. The construction of Etele Plaza will give a new momentum to the regeneration of the Kelenföld, one of Europe’s largest public transport investments, which includes not only Etele Plaza but also Budapest ONE Business Park, Futureal Group’s most ambitious office project,” says Tatár.
The first phase of the office complex, with more than 65,000sq m of GLA will provide nearly 25,000sq m of office space with 2,600sq m of commercial and service space, spacious green areas and 480 parking lots for the thousands of employees working in the business park.
Tatár believes that online and offline shopping have to live together in the future, and is certain that collections of fashion brands cannot be fully digitalised. “Even in the US, the very cheap, very price competitive products have the strongest presence online, while the mid-range and high fashion retail market is not shrinking but expanding, therefore we embrace this trend rather than fear it,” Tatár explains.
“Etele Plaza will have to meet the expectation of the next generation of customers called Generation Z. We have to put together a range of brands and services that is able to offer a unique and amazing customer experience for all generations,” he concludes.