Corio and the city of Utrecht have signed the contract for the first phase of the extension and renovation of the Hoog Catharijne shopping center in Utrecht city center. The contract concerns the Vredenburg area where the largest part of the shopping center extension will take place, and opens the way for building work to start in 2007. It is expected that this part will be completed in phases from 2010 to 2013.
About 19,000 m2 (of the planned total of 35,000 m2) of retail space, 800 parking spaces and 150 houses will be added to the Vredenburg area of the Hoog Catharijne shopping center. In addition, parts of the existing Hoog Catharijne will be thoroughly renovated. The contract for the Vredenburg area builds on the agreement of intent for entire Hoog Catharijne that was concluded between Corio and the city of Utrecht in December 2004. The contract will be followed later this year by similar contracts for the remaining phases of the extension and renovation, at which time the entire project will be transferred from the variable to the fixed pipeline of Corio.
The total investment is expected to amount to approximately €250 million. In the period from 2007 to 2015 the building work and completion of Hoog Catharijne will take place in phases, during renovation the greater part of the shops will remain open. The still functioning well but rather outdated shopping center Hoog Catharijne, will be transformed into a retail destination that can hold its own with the leading shopping centers of Europe, both in appearance and tenant-mix.
At the same time as the contract for the Vredenburg area was signed, Corio and the city of Utrecht specified the framework for the agreement of intent about the cooperation regarding the to be realized Leidsche Rijn Centrum, located in the vinex district (new urban area) of Utrecht of the same name. This shopping center of over 40,000 m, is expected to be completed around 2011 (in phases). The investment will amount to approximately €140 million.
The extension and renovation of Hoog Catharijne fits very well with Corios strategy to further expand its present strong position through new retail investments in its core markets: the Netherlands (51%), France (24%), Italy (14%), Spain (7%) and Turkey (4%). Important criteria for Corio are that its shopping centers are and remain dominant in their catchment area in terms of size and quality, and have the potential to add value. Corio adds value by means of active hands-on management in its core countries for the benefit of its tenants, consumers and shareholders.