Jun 16, 2014
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China leads the world in shopping center construction

Jun 16, 2014

Nearly 39 million square feet of new commercial shopping center space is currently under construction in the 180 countries throughout the world that were surveyed by real estate giant CBRE. And one of the principal findings of the research study was that over half of this development is taking place in China. Globally this represents a 3 million square meter increase in space under construction compared to 2013.

Value Retail’s Shanghai Village, scheduled to open in Autumn 2015 near the Disney Resort (image, Value Retail)

For Chen Zhongwei, director of CBRE China, urbanization and the rise of the middle class are the drivers of China’s strong demand for the development of modern shopping centers – even if certain observers worry that this bubble may eventually burst.

A report from Rui Yide China Commercial Real Estate Research Center went so far as to allude to the likely closing of some centers, up to 10%, while emphasizing that only 30% of these are first class facilities.

Heading up CBRE’s list is Shanghai, with 3.3 million square meters under construction. CBRE points out that this is more than the combined total of all 86 European cities (excluding those in Russia and Turkey).

Following Shanghai are three other Chinese cities: Chengdu (3.2 million square meters), Shenzhen (2.7 million) and Tianjin (2.5 million). Also among the top ten cities are Istanbul, Wuhan, Moscow, Beijing, Nanjing and Guangzhou.

In Europe, according to CBRE, Russian and Turkish cities continue to dominate new construction. In Istanbul, 27 centers with a total of 1.9 million square meters are in the works. Moscow comes in at 1.5 million square meters, and other Russian cities such as St Petersburg and Novosibirsk are also building.

Kuala Lumpur accounts for nearly 40% of the 3.3 million square meters under construction in Southeast Asia. In the Middle East, Abu Dhabi strengthened its position as the regional leader with three shopping centers completed in 2013 (for a total of 168,000 square meters) and eight other centers, totaling 778,000 square meters, currently under way.

The study indicates that of the 35 new shopping centers opened in Europe in 2013, 26 are located in Eastern Europe, four in Central Europe, and five in Western Europe. CBRE notes that even though new construction in Western Europe is at an historic low, some shopping centers are pursuing expansion plans in response to the demand from leading brands seeking new locations.

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