Global development surging, Summit told

September 12, 2012 in Articles

Author: Staff of Shopping Centers Today
Publication: International Council of Shopping Centers

With roughly 30 million square meters (about 320 million square feet) of retail space under development around the world — equivalent to the combined total currently available throughout France, Germany and the U.K., notes global property adviser CBRE — there is plenty to talk about.

“Ninety-four percent of mall development in the past five years has taken place outside the U.S.,” Brad Hutensky, ICSC’s chairman, and president and principal of Hutensky Capital Partners, told the more than 1,200 delegates attending the Summit. “We all speak the language of retail.”

Last year saw the openings of shopping centers in 63 of the 180 cities CBRE surveyed around the world, and 50 of those centers went up in emerging countries; only five opened in West European cities.



Retail is expanding to serve expanding middle-classes in developing countries, noted Michael P. Kercheval, president and CEO of ICSC, while at the same time, shopping centers offer a rapid and stable return for investors in a world that is seeing fluid international capital flows. This development is creating badly needed jobs in a developing world that is rapidly urbanizing, he said. Furthermore, retail sales generate revenues that enable cities to develop and improve their infrastructure, Kercheval said.

China’s cities figure prominently among those seeing new centers; half of all the world’s shopping center construction is taking place there, much of it in secondary and tertiary cities. Some 70 percent of the construction is taking place in Asia overall, CBRE says.

Developers from around the world are active there. For instance, Singapore-based CapitaLand Ltd. opened its third Raffles City retail-office development, in Chengdu, China, last week. CapitaLand plans to open five more Raffles City projects in China by 2017. Taubman Centers has just announced its first Chinese development. The REIT’s Asian subsidiary is teaming up with one of China’s largest department store chains to develop, own and manage the 1 million-square-foot retail component of a 5.9 million-square-foot, mixed-use complex in the second-tier city of Xi’an, scheduled to open in 2015.

The opportunities in secondary and tertiary cities, often with populations exceeding 10 million people, are huge, says Joel Stephen, CBRE’s director of retailer representation in China. “Often only a handful of existing department stores and shopping centers serve these vast populations.”

Retailers’ appetites for growth are outpacing the available real estate, Stephen says, driving the demand for quality shopping space. “This considerable pipeline of development over the coming few years will help retailers accelerate the rate of portfolio growth across China.”

But what about China’s slowing growth and Europe’s economic chaos? China’s authoritarian government has the means to manage a soft landing, said Byron Wien, vice chairman of New York City–based Blackstone Advisory Partners LP, who was asked to share his insights by The Wall Street Journal’s China editor, Andrew Browne. “Sure there are a lot of problems around the world,” Wien said, “but most of these countries have the tools to solve them.” And while Greece and Portugal might leave the euro, “Europe is going to be there, Europe is going to function.”

Canada’s former prime minister Brian Mulroney, agreed. “They could not allow the euro to fail and they’re not going to allow it,” he told a packed auditorium. What the world needs is bold leadership, Mulroney declared. “Political capital is acquired to be spent.” Those leaders that exercise vision and courage, and spend less time worrying about their poll ratings, are the ones who will leave their mark, he said.

Bold retailers and developers will be rewarded too, said Daniel Latev, head of global retailing research at Euromonitor International. A further 2.3 million stores will open between now and 2016 across the world, and an additional $1.8 trillion in sales will be generated.

Outside China, the most-active regions for new development are Abu Dhabi, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi and São Paulo, according to CBRE.

In India, Prozone CSC — a joint venture between Britain’s Capital Shopping Centres Group plc and India’s Provogue — has six projects under various stages of development, and owns enough land currently to potentially build nearly 18 million square feet of retail.

Last month saw the opening in Seoul, South Korea, of IFC Mall Seoul, a 40,000-square-metre, $2.2 billion retail and entertainment center. The mixed-use project was developed by AIG Global Real Estate Development in conjunction with the city of Seoul. The mall is operated by Taubman Asia.

In Brazil, global developers are striving to bring retail to a country with a burgeoning middle class that has plenty of money to spend, but few places to spend it. The country has 114 million square feet of existing mall space, and 22 million square feet scheduled to open between and the end of next year, reports Morgan Stanley, in a just-released report. DDR, in a joint venture with Portugal’s Sonae Sierra, has 11 properties there, and four under development, Morgan Stanley notes, while GGP and its local Aliansce partner have 15 malls. Simon Property Group and BRMalls are seeking to build outlet centers across Brazil. And Westfield Group and Almeida Junior have three centers and two under development, the report notes.

Not surprisingly, Eastern Europe is seeing the bulk of the retail construction on the European continent, especially Russia. Other, hitherto overlooked markets also will follow, predicted Michael F. Moriarty, senior partner at A.T. Kearney, the Chicago-based research and consulting firm. “At long last we’re beginning to see the emergence of Sub-Saharan Africa as a viable and interesting market for retailers,” he said.

As Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of General Growth Properties, put it: “It is truly a global environment.” Mathrani, an ICSC trustee, is co-chairman of the Summit.

Compiled by the staff of Shopping Centers Today. © September 12, 2012 International Council of Shopping Centers.




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