Attending Mapic in 2019, two things were clear: retail property projects are more diversified than ever, and mixed-use spaces are becoming the new norm. At Citycon, we have spent many years developing our shopping centres to be community-oriented urban hubs. Our shopping centres are located next to public transport, making them ideal places for dense urban hubs that provide all the amenities for daily life. Our strategy going forward is to focus even more on developing mixed-use spaces and densifying the urban environment around our shopping centres. In addition to being a retail player, we have a residential portfolio of planned or approved building rights of approximately 4,500 homes. This presents great opportunities for us which we will leverage for densification of our urban places.

Transforming into diversified urban spaces

The shopping centre business is changing. As the boundaries between work and leisure blur increasingly, traditional shopping centres are becoming diversified urban places. Libraries, cinemas, theatre and public services are already found in our shopping centres. As developers of shopping centres with high quality retail, we can add offices, housing, hotels, schools and much more. Currently, we are developing hotels in connection with three of our assets in Trekanten in Asker, Stenungstorg in Greater Gothenburg and in Liljeholmstorget in Stockholm.

Solmutori square at Lippulaiva shopping centre

Putting the new strategy into practice

For a prime example of how we are putting the new strategy into practice, consider Lippulaiva. As an already established shopping centre, Lippulaiva is in a rapidly growing and affluent neighbourhood in the Greater Helsinki area. Here, we are investing in a completely new, modern and urban shopping centre of 44,300 square meters – more than double the size of the old centre – which will be built to accommodate the new metro station and bus terminal. The new Lippulaiva will host around 80 different shops, cafés, restaurants and services in addition to multiple municipal service and healthcare units. We are also adding eight residential blocks with 450-500 new apartments in the immediate vicinity.

Understanding local needs is essential

When delivering placemaking, we need to understand our local markets and the needs of the businesses, people and communities who live, work and visit the neighbourhood. This means having a clear and strong concept with focus on the people and meeting places.

Urban environments need to be attractive for people to want to spend time there. Design, architecture and art that bring life are at the heart of the experience. The historical and unique features of a place should be preserved to strengthen the local feel and identity. By engaging the local community in the process of developing a concept for our shopping centres, we build up a deep understanding of the local needs. In Liljeholmstorget Galleria, located seven minutes by metro to Stockholm CBD, we have organised focus groups to get a clear picture of what the neighbourhood thinks about the shopping centre and what the place means for them.

Liljeholmstorget Galleria is integrated to public transportation with two metro lines and a bus centre, making it an urban hub with easy access to amenities for daily life. Here, we have densification plans for further urbanisation. By overdecking the metro and expanding on top, we want to enhance the place with offices, hotels and homes as well as more culture and leisure that bring experiences, fun and variety.

By working toward densification of our urban spaces, we have great opportunities to create significant values. With our expertise in retail and urban development, and our understanding of the local markets in which we operate, we can improve urban spaces with high quality mixed-used developments, providing enjoyable spaces in which people thrive.