Banimmo, a Belgian real estate company active in built-to-suit developments and redeveloping obsolete buildings in its three geographical markets of Belgium, France and Luxembourg, is proud to announce a joint venture with McArthurGlen, Europe’s leading owner, developer and manager of designer outlets, to jointly develop a McArthurGlen Designer Outlet together with a leisure complex in the Belgian city of Ghent.
The new 52,800 m² GLA retail and leisure scheme is located in ‘The Loop’ district of Ghent, in the southwest of the city. It will include an approximate 32,000 m² GLA McArthurGlen Designer Outlet,14,500 m² of leisure and a 6,300 m² big-box store, and will see an investment of more than €180 million and, just for the Designer Outlet, the creation of more than 2,000 (full time and part time) jobs.
The scheme is part of a wider mixed-use project, in which Schoonmeers Bugten (majority owned by Banimmo (75%) and a minority shareholder in the public-private partnership Grondbank The Loop, the owner of several land plots in ‘The Loop’ district) has entered into an agreement with SoGent (real estate development entity of the city of Ghent, and the majority shareholder in Grondbank The Loop) to transfer Field 12 East and part of Field 12 West for the development of the scheme, as well as for a 6,300 m² big-box store and 21,000 m² of offices. The land transfer is subject to a number of conditions, including the granting of all required building permits. SoGent will not participate in the development of the two sites.
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Ghent will offer nearly 200 stores, including the most sought-after names in luxury, designer and lifestyle fashion, with both globally recognized local and international brands, with year-round savings of 30-70 per cent, and including a wide range of cafes and restaurants, and a children’s play area. To complete the day-out experience, the scheme’s 14,500 sq m of leisure will include an eight-screen multiplex cinema and a bowling alley.
Planning permission (RUP-Ruimtelijk Uitvoeringsplan and the Socio-Economic Permit) has already been granted for the scheme, with building permits expected to be delivered by mid 2014 and for works to commence on site late 2014. The scheme will be developed in two phases, with a planned opening for end of 2016.
André Bosmans, Secretary General, Banimmo, says: “We are delighted to announce our joint venture with McArthurGlen. By working with McArthurGlen, we are able to combine our local knowledge and experience as one of Belgian’s market leaders with the expertise and experience of Europe’s leader in designer outlet retailing to create an unrivaled shopping and leisure destination for the people of Ghent as well as of Belgium, and visitors to the area.
“The development of a McArthurGlen Designer Outlet together with a leisure complex represents a new milestone for Banimmo given the size, level of investment and the jobs created. It is also a new milestone in the redevelopment of The Loop district, a redevelopment first started by SoGent and Banimmo ten years ago, and which has since seen the completion of the ring-road, the sale of a land plot to IKEA and the development of a built-to-suit office building for the Flemish environment agency (VMM) on Field 5 East.”
Pieter Van Voorst Vader, Development Director, McArthurGlen, says: “The site in Ghent in ‘The Loop’ district presents an unmatched opportunity given the size of the catchment, the affluence of the area and the huge tourism potential. The location is unbeatable, with great access by car, by public transport with a designated tram stop on the doorstep and good access by bicycle too. We are already seeing a very strong interest from our brand partners to open at the center, as well as from well-known aspirational Belgian brands.”
Anthony Rippingale, Head of Tourism, McArthurGlen, says: “Tourism is an increasingly important part of our core business given that shopping is one of the favorite activities of tourists visiting Europe, whether for leisure or business. At our Ghent Designer Outlet, we expect to welcome not only tourists from across Europe, but also from longer-haul destinations, such as Russia, China and South-East Asia. We have seen sales to these discerning global shopping tourists at our 20 Designer Outlets across Europe quadruple over the three-year period till end of June 2013, such is their love of shopping when they come to Europe, especially at a McArthurGlen center.”