Westfield eager to move into France
The Australian shopping center group is currently working with French commercial property developer Immochan on a shopping center project located in the Plaine du Var near Nice. The project involves 200 stores in an 80,000 square meter space with an opening sometime around 2019-2020.
The information was reported in the Figaro daily newspaper, which cited sources familiar with the matter and mentioned an investment ranging from 350 to 400 million euros. Arriving in France in partnership with Auchan's subsidiary Immochan would give Westfield a leg up in a highly competitive market, one in which commercial developers like Klépierre or Unibail-Rodamco are ready and waiting.
The Nice project will also involve political stakes as Klépierre and some other developers all covet the same acreage. The French-Australian duo will have to win the tender under the next local government, with the winning project to be unveiled in early 2015 and work starting two years later. And the close proximity of the Cap 3000 mall from Altarea Cogedim is likely to stir debate.
Currently gaining a foothold in France is a priority for Westfield. Last year the company was trying to land a high-end mall in Cagnes-sur-Mer, but to no avail. Westfield then positioned itself on the mammoth project EuropaCity to be built near the Charles-de-Gaulle Airport by Immochan, but the company ultimately decided to schedule that project for sometime around 2025. While Westfield will next year launch a shopping center on the ground floor of the new World Trade Center in New York, it is an open question if the developer has found a project that will open doors in France.
Westfield boasts 90 malls spread across Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the U.K. In addition, it operates 20,536 outlets stores. All properties together annually attract a billion visitors and are valued at 70 billion Australian dollars.
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