Rodamco Europe's shopping center opens in Budapest

The state-of-the-art Árkád shopping center in the Hungarian capital Budapest will open its doors to the public on 20 March 2002, after two years of construction.

Rodamco Europe owns one third of the center, whose 42,000 m² sales area comprises 170 shops fully let to tenants including Interspar (supermarket), Media Markt, C&A (its first store in Hungary), Mexx, Esprit, Springfield and Douglas. Rodamco Europe has invested approximately EUR 36 million in the project, providing a net initial return of 7.5%.

Árkád is ideally located in the eastern part of Budapest, in a very densely populated area. The location, opposite Ikea, has excellent regional and suburban rail connections. The M2 line operates every 2-4 minutes in the rush hour, and carries more than 100,000 people a day. The project includes 1,300 parking places and also 3,300 m² of offices, for which letting expectations are positive.

Árkád was developed by ECE of Germany, whose local organization in Budapest will also manage the shopping center. Although this is not in line with Rodamco EuropeÂ's general objective of both owning and managing its shopping centers, the current retail portfolio in Budapest lacks the critical size to justify setting up a professional local management team. Rodamco Europe is the largest owner of (prime) shopping centers in the capital cities of Central Europe as a whole (Budapest, Prague and Warsaw).

CEO Maarten Hulshoff: 'We know ECE very well, and recognize its high
professional standards in the area of shopping center management. We are happy that ECE is involved in the day-to-day management of this particular project.'

The net initial yield of 7.5 % is attractive, especially in view of the relatively low levels of rent. The average rent paid at Árkád is EUR 195 per m² per annum.

Hans Pars, Managing Director Central & Eastern Europe: 'Taking into account the strong location and tenant mix of the Árkád shopping center, and rents at rival schemes such as WestEnd City Center, we are confident that market rents at Árkád will show above-average growth in the coming years.'

(source: Rodamco Europe)

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