The Belval Plaza shopping centre is starting its transformation with the arrival of new brands, but also the creation of new facilities, including, from spring 2023, a 2,500m2 "food hall" with around ten brands located on the second floor of the complex next to the Belval-University train station.
"We want to offer a different dining experience to other shopping centres, with the possibility for everyone to taste the dish selected in the store of their choice; everything will be served at the same time to the occupants of the table,” explains Romain Muller, managing director of Firce Capital, enthusiastically.
Its owner since March 2020 has planned a budget of "between €12m and €15m" to revitalise the 37,150m2 centre. With 6.8 million annual visitors, he aims to reach 8 million by 2023.
Family customers targeted
"My greatest wish is that the public should have a positive image of the Belval site,” says the Luxembourger who, surrounded by property professionals, has redesigned the site "to adapt it to today's needs".
Gone is the labyrinth of escalators and staircases; the focus is now on making the route more fluid and optimising the space. This is illustrated by the work in progress on the first floor of Belval Plaza 1, not far from the Saturn shop. The latter will be redesigning its identity as Mediamarkt and its presence via an L-shaped cell. A team of six workers is closing a hopper and removing a seven-ton escalator. "This is our first large-scale project in Luxembourg and we are delighted to contribute to the extension of this shopping centre," explains Geoffrey Riss, works manager for Celux.
At the other end of the centre, on the side of the Kinepolis, whose lease has been renewed, the entrance to the cinema has been redesigned while, on the right-hand side, the fitting out of a 400m2 daycare centre is underway. From the end of this year, Hello Kids should be open to children from the age of 3 during the centre's opening hours.
"We want to adapt the Belval experience to a family clientele," emphasises Muller, who has not forgotten another key segment: the train passengers who pass through the complex every day. Next spring, Post will open a point of sale, as will the parapharmacy chain Medi-Market. From the summer onwards, the City of Esch is to move into Belval Plaza 2 to open a Bierger-Center, located opposite the checkouts of the Delhaize supermarket.
The shopping centre also intends to develop its service offer, with the arrival next spring of two "personal shoppers", a new mobile application and a website, allowing retailers without a virtual presence to be listed there.
Fashion and home furnishings in focus
With 77 retail units spread over two buildings linked by a footbridge overlooking the avenue du Rock'n'Roll, Belval Plaza has attracted new retailers in recent months, including Claire's, Slumberland, Dida Kids, La Boutique du Coiffeur and Sidestep.
12 spaces (including 9 in Belval Plaza 2) currently remain vacant, but contacts are going well according to the owner, who has a rental rate of 96.5% for the first building and 87.5% for the second. He is not hiding his interest in fashion brands, but also in household goods, a segment that is under-represented in the south of Luxembourg.
In terms of mobility, work has been undertaken to refurbish the 1,200-space car park. A call for tenders for its operation will soon be launched, says Muller. "The site has suffered in the past from the lack of direct access to the motorway, which is a very important political failure," he adds. This vast construction site, this time, is not the responsibility of Firce Capital. It is already looking at Belval Plaza 2, which could also be given a facelift by 2024 or 2025.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.