Bucharest’s Floreasca/Barbu Vacarescu area is the most valuable fusion between retail and office spaces. According to the real estate consultancy company Colliers International Romania, for every 1,000 sqm of offices there are 35-40 sqm dedicated to retail services. In total, in the area there are about 10,000 sqm of such spaces at the ground floor of office buildings, with the rents generated by these holding a share of 4 percent of the total cashed in by landlords.
The Floreasca/Barbu Vacarescu area, together with its surroundings, is one of the most effervescent in the country on several segments of the real estate market: office, retail, residential. The high quality of the companies present here has also led to high wages, therefore employees in the area earn more than EUR 0.5 billion a year, almost 2 percent of the total wage bill across the country.
This financial situation favored the improvement in the quality of services offered in this area.
“In the past, there were only simple retail concepts near office buildings: cafeterias and coffee corner spaces. In line with the new consumer requirements, a transition was gradually made to premium restaurants and cafes, as well as to other categories of goods. In turn, services have diversified – hairdressing areas, cleaning or medical services – so that employees can solve their everyday problems in the proximity of the workplace. We expect this diversification to continue through other concepts such as afterschool or kindergartens, in order to improve the lives of employees,” Brindusa Grama, associate Retail Agency at Colliers International Romania, said.
Despite the upcoming expansion, the options offered by Promenada Mall, the only shopping center in the area, will be insufficient for the tens of thousands of employees in the Floreasca/Barbu Vacarescu area, whose monthly lunch expenditures alone reach nearly EUR 3 million, for instance.
Thus, the retail space on the ground floor of office buildings, which totals 10,000 sqm (almost a quarter of the shopping center’s surface), complements the services offered by Promenada, without being a competition.
“The extraordinary results of these retail schemes come as a consequence of the timely association between high employee incomes and a good location, sought by both HoReCa operators and residential developers. We see a real success of the retail space adjacent to office buildings, a success that we hope to be replicated in the rest of the country,” Grama concluded.
Developers are starting to experiment in this sense by expanding the retail component: some office owners are trying to create a lifestyle hub, while in other areas of the capital, there are already restaurants and bars that work well over the working schedule of nearby employees, as destination for a week-end brunch or to spend one’s evening during the week.
The trend is expanding at the national level, with mixed projects (offices and retail and, possibly, residential) becoming a priority for many developers.