The developer group begins with 150 million euros in a latest-generation centre devoted to fashion and leisure
MARÍA VICTORIA REVILLA
Bogaris Retail has changed its plans for the city of Almería. Far from abandoning its project at Torrecárdenas where it planned to open a retail park, it has reorganised its objectives, launching a latest-generation area. It is a new mixed concept, bringing together large-format specialised retailers and a shopping centre particularly devoted to fashion and leisure. This is what is known as the retail mix, a change which brings a much stronger commitment. A good idea of this can be gained from the investment figures. Bogaris is almost tripling the initial 50 million euros, pouring in 125 million euros.
Since the Seville group embarked on its expansion in Almería in 2005, it has always spoken of a retail park, a type of shopping area more resistant to the pressures of the economic crisis. While other developers have turned their shopping centre projects into parks, Bogaris has opted instead for this new format integrating the two concepts: large-format specialised retailers and a (covered) shopping centre proper, with a different retail offer. Instead of being based on a hypermarket, the Torrecárdenas project has been reconfigured with fashion and leisure as its core. The aim is to make an impact on the habits of the people of Almería and attract customers from the catchment area, including other towns outside the metropolitan area, such as Roquetas, Vícar and El Ejido.
“The new project is much more complex. It is a large shopping area with retail units smaller than the ones initially planned, which has allowed us to create a large fashion and leisure area,” said Javier Marín, managing director of Bogaris, who is convinced that this will be the definitive retail project for the province. “This will allow the city to recover its role as capital,” he stresses.
It is a giant 176,454-square-metre floor area, with a two-storey building, including 140 shops. The gross leasable area is 22,120 square metres in the retail park and 39,332 in the shopping centre.
The plan also stands out because of its offer. In fact, the area devoted to food occupies only 5.17% of the new project. Faced with competition that largely bases its attraction on hypermarkets (32% of the available space according to the study carried out by Bogaris), the Seville group’s retail mix proposes the “biggest fashion range in the area”, with 56% of the whole development devoted to this sector. It will also include the first food court (a courtyard devoted to bars and restaurants, with different ranges of cuisine)in Andalusia, as well as a multi-adventure children’s area “unlike anything existing in Almería” and a climbing centre.
Bogaris has added another attraction to its project, which has now been officially presented at the Spanish Congress of Retail Centres and Parks, held in Málaga, to loosen the purse-strings of the people of Almería. It is reserving another 5,000 square metres for the opening of “new-generation cinemas” and the company has made an architectural nod to the province’s link with the seventh art, with a strong commitment to it.
While maintaining the work developed from Almería by Arapiles Arquitectos (Luis Pastor and Luis Fernández), to define its new approach Bogaris has used the international Chapman Taylor studio, with offices in 17 countries.
Although it might be thought of as a utopian project, given the economic situation and the fact that other shopping area schemes announced for the capital have been halted, nothing could be further from the truth. After work initially ran into various problems, the urban development at Torrecárdenas is moving on to road surfacing within in a few days. They will be finished before Christmas, and Bogaris plans to begin building next year, opening to the public at the end of 2016 or beginning of 2017.