Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 34

Building on Success square metres reserved for all types of restaurants. Get It Right the First Time Capitalising on metro access, Citycon pulls all the stops to expand Iso Omena shopping centre A s the western metroline gets going in August 2016, there will be something good waiting at the end-of-the-line. The shopping centre Iso Omena – the commercial anchor of the surrounding Matinkylä community and beyond – is undergoing huge development, adding as much as 37,000 square metres of new retail space. “After the expansion is complete, Iso Omena will feature over 100,000 square metres of space,” confirms Risto Seppo, Property Development Director for Citycon. Upon completion, the shopping centre will almost double the present number of 115 shops, while providing immediate access to a customer base with twice the average Finnish income level. Hit the Big One The other local numbers are impressive, as well: there are 780,000 customers living within a 15 kilometer radius of Iso Omena and the purchasing power in the catchment area is staggering 4 billion euros. Commercial Director Sanna Yliniemi says that Iso Omena is “building on a hit formula” here, since the shopping centre already has nine million patrons annually. “We are targeting 14.5 million customers and € 375 million annual sales, once the expansion is done,” she says. 32 Nordicum Actually, the expansion won’t be entirely complete by the end of summer: the first phase of expansion encompasses 25,000 square metres, with a follow-up of some 12,000 sqm in the spring of 2017. As the metro kicks off, so will the ultra-modern bus terminal; being the end-of-the-line metro station, handling commuters is a top priority here. That’s not to say that putting all this together has been easy. Yliniemi admits that when you’re adding a considerable expansion to existing real estate, there’s so many things that can go wrong. “This is why we really did our homework well and focused on issues such as the right customer flow and balanced service offering,” she says. According to Risto Seppo, finding tenants for the expansion part hasn’t been particularly hard, even with the recession winds blowing. “Iso Omena´s occupancy rate is now in January 2016 over 80 % and negotiations are on-going,” he says, adding that prospective tenants tend to appreciate the fact that Iso Omena is no “mystery card” – the shopping centre has a proven track record. The Total Package To this effect, there will be some 6,000 sq.metres of public services such as newand-improved library and healthcare station here. “From the point of view of the citizens, it is noteworthy that you can find all the services under one roof,” comments Risto Seppo. It appears that the bigger, better Iso Omena can certainly deliver on that promise. In addition to its fashion, home décor, leisure, and well-being providers, Iso Omena will serve as a go-to source for everyday goods and groceries. “As Citycon is known for groceryanchored shopping centres, we’re proud to say that here we have succeeded in getting all the relevant players involved,” Sanna Yliniemi says. The other significant upgrade is the strength and diversity of the food and beverage area, with about 6,000 Core Impact Iso Omena is also very much in tune with Citycon’s strategy which calls for shopping centres to be located in urban cross-points close to where customers live and work, and with a direct connection to public transport, healthcare and municipal services. At the end of 2015 Citycon owned 54 shopping centres in the Nordic and Baltic countries. O