Israeli group BIG Central European Estates is bringing the retail park concept to Serbia with the first of 10 new schemes now on site at Novi Sad, the country's second largest city. BIG CEE has appointed King Sturge as leasing agent on the 90,000 sq m mixed retail development which is due to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2010.
The surveying firm, which has an office in Belgrade, will also advise on the rollout of the concept across Serbia over the next couple of years. Target cities for BIG CEE in the next few years include Belgrade, Sabac and Jagodina where it has already bought land for development, followed by retail parks in Serbia's top 10 cities by population.
Mark Barnes, Head of European Retail at King Sturge, says: "Retail parks are new to the Serbian retail market and the development of the flagship scheme at Novi Sad will structurally change the overall shopping scene in the country. We predict that edge-of-town retail parks will be one of the most exciting developments in the market for some time to come."
The scheme, called BIG Novi Sad, is located close to Novi Sad city centre and will be anchored by a major supermarket of 4,000 sq m. The 55-unit scheme will have a mix of electrical, home furnishing, DIY, fashion and other retailers.
Ivan Todorovic, leasing agent at King Sturge's Belgrade office, comments that the first phase of 29,500 sq m of retail space is attracting a lot of interest from both local and international tenants. So far heads of terms have been signed with Big Bang (Slovenian electronics store operator), Fox & Laline (Israeli fashion and cosmetics company and a newcomer to the Serbian market) and numerous domestic retailers.
BIG Shopping Centers - which has combined with fellow Israeli company CEE to develop the retail parks in Serbia is the largest retail park operator in Israel with 15 already open in the country and another five planned in the next two years. To spearhead its international expansion, BIG has chosen two markets: Serbia and India, within both of which it plans to take up the role of developer of retail park concepts.