Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Karstadt to expand further: Second new Berlin department store to open in the Gropius Passagen

In autumn 2018, Karstadt will open a new department store in the Gropius Passagen in Berlin. For its future store, the department store group has signed a long-term lease with the capital’s biggest shopping centre, which, as part of a joint venture with TH Real Estate, belongs to the portfolio of Unibail-Rodamco Germany and is also run by the company itself. Karstadt will, to all intents and purposes, be moving into the space that, until the summer of last year, was occupied by Galeria Kaufhof. This means that, together with another newly planned store in Berlin’s Tegel district, two new Karstadt stores will be opening this year in Berlin.

Karstadt CEO Dr Stephan Fanderl: “For the first time in decades, Karstadt is looking to expand – with two new stores as an immediate measure. Our goal is to make the company one of the strongest, most successful retailers across all sales channels in Germany and to further strengthen our market position in Berlin. This also entails shaping the city centre itself – as we will be doing when we open the new stores in Berlin. And one thing’s for sure: this will not be the last new location.”

The new department store in the Gropius Passagen covers 7,900 m2 of sales space on three storeys and is designed as a networked marketplace. The property is expected to be handed over to the tenant – Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH – by July 2018 at the latest, with the grand opening scheduled for as early as October 2018.

Karstadt in the Gropius Passagen is the next step towards the expansion of Karstadt in Berlin. Together with the branch in Tegel, the new department store will strengthen the existing network of seven Karstadt stores in Berlin, each of which is firmly anchored in their respective city districts and offers a product range tailored to local needs.

“We are delighted to acquire for the Gropius Passagen a tenant as strong and steeped in tradition as Karstadt and to welcome an exciting new highlight to our existing range of shops,” says Paul-Eric Perchaud, Director of Operations at Unibail-Rodamco Germany. “The department store is a perfect fit in our long-term strategy for the Gropius Passagen. It provides strong impetus for the tenant mix and will provide a key reason for visitors to spend more time in our shopping centre.”

Unibail-Rodamco Germany is modernising the Gropius Passagen in Berlin together with co-owner TH Real Estate at a total investment cost of around €125 million and with a view to further emphasising the focus on fashion and lifestyle in the future. The centre has already received a brighter and more open design, a revamped customer information desk and comfy seating areas. Another highlight will be the new, modern restaurant concept. The last of three conversion phases began in early 2018, and the project is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2019.

“By modernizing and diversified tenant mix in the Gropius Passagen, we are shoring up its position and making it fit to meet the requirements imposed by customers and tenants on today’s shopping centres,” says Frederik Sarnes, Retail Asset Manager with the property investment manager TH Real Estate. “We are also signalling our commitment to bricks-and-mortar retail since the German retail sector is extremely lively.”