Is there a future for the neighborhood mall?
We ask Dennis Hoek, portfolio manager Retail & Hotels. "Our shopping centers have some wonderful similarities: they are often located in the heart of the neighborhood, it is a meeting place for neighbors and there is plenty of free parking. This allows them to distinguish themselves very well from the A-locations in the center of large cities. And that offers enormous potential.
In fact, these locations are a kind of convenience spots, but personally I prefer to call them the "heart of the neighborhood. A place where you do your shopping while you let the kids run around in the playground, pick up a package, go to the hairdresser or physio, have a cup of coffee, buy a bunch of flowers, or charge the car while you take a few hours to use a flex-workplace.
Although there is a huge shift to online shopping, there remains a great need for this kind of retail concentration in the middle of residential areas for all daily groceries. But we also see that such a place is enormously attractive for other industries such as a dental hygienist or a physical therapist.
We see our tenants primarily as partners, after all, we have a common interest. It is up to all parties to form the right mix (branches/services) in a shopping center that is as attractive as possible for consumers. We strive for a win-win situation for everyone: entrepreneur, local residents, consumers and owners. In that context, our entrepreneurs, but also we as owners, are willing to continuously share information and experiences with each other. This allows us to respond well to future changes, as well as wishes and improvements.
And by adding more functions such as parcel lockers, a playground or flex work spaces to the heart of the neighborhood, we are meeting the needs of many local residents. In this way, more neighborhood shopping centers are transforming into social neighborhood meeting places with appeal for entrepreneurs as well as neighborhood residents. In this way we are building sustainable customer relationships. So as far as we are concerned, the future is bright!"
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