Atrium European Real Estate (VSX: ATR) announces the opening of two shopping centers in Poland, ahead of the key Christmas trading period. The opening of the Galeria Kasztanowa shopping center in Pila on November 25, 2008, was followed by that of Forum Koszalin shopping center in Koszalin, in which Atrium holds a 50.1% interest. Both centers are over 98% let to a strong tenant base of international, national and local retailers which have been selected to suit local requirements.
Forum Koszalin is 99% let upon opening.
Anchored by a 10,000-m² Tesco, the 82,000-m² center has a GLA of 53,970 m² and is 99% let upon opening with an average lease length of 9.2 years. It is located in Koszalin, the second largest city in the West Pomerania region of northern Poland, with a local population of 170,000 people. With good transport links, 1,500 car parking spaces and a large catchment area with a strong local economy boosted by tourism owing to its location only 10 km from the coast, Forum Koszalin has attracted strong tenant demand from both national and international retailers. As well as Tesco, it has attracted Media Markt, Europe's largest retailer of consumer electronics and a large number of well known Polish national and local retailers.
The second 10,000-m² property in the two-building complex is let entirely to Castorama, one of the biggest European DIY chains, and opened on 15 November 2008.
The center also includes a Silverscreen cinema, a Gymnasion fitness center and a number of restaurants, all of which help make the center a destination location, drive footfall and allow extended opening hours to increase income generation.
Located in North West Poland, Pila serves a local population of over 75,000 inhabitants. The 51,000-m² center is anchored by Bomi, the Polish food retailer, which has a chain of 239 stores, is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and has taken 2,500 m² of space. With 66 retail units in total, covering 12,100 m² of GLA, it is 98.6% occupied by a broad range of quality national tenants. To encourage footfall, it also has a multiplex cinema, run by Helios, a number of restaurants and 433 car parking spaces.
These two projects follow the opening in June 2008 of Atrium's Forum Trabzon development on the Black Sea Coast of Turkey. Forum Trabzon has a GLA of approximately 49,000 m² and is the largest retail development within a 300-km radius. Tenant mix includes Marks & Spencer, McDonald's, Douglas, Intersport, Nike, Levis, LaCoste and Benetton, as well as well-known local groups such as hypermarket Migros and DIY Koctas, underlying Atrium's ability to attract high-quality tenants and international occupiers.
Rachel Lavine, Chief Executive of Atrium, said: "These two developments are excellent examples of our ability to attract the most appropriate tenants for the local catchment area. At Galeria Kasztanowa, we have offered flexible spaces and a wide range of rents that have attracted strong national Polish brands that are suited to the needs of the local population. Contrastingly, at Koszalin there is a much larger catchment area with an 8.5% above average purchasing power and a regular influx of touri