News•Business• 10.05.2019 • Aaron Grunwald and Céline Coubray
Vincent Debrin and Anand Remtolla of Ceetrus, the real estate firm developing the Cloche d’Or shopping centre. Debrin and Remtolla are seen during an exclusive tour of the centre during its construction, 6 March 2019.
Photo: Mike Zenari
It’s the final stretch: the Cloche d’Or shopping centre is set to open on 28 May.
It will host 130 boutiques, notably a flagship Auchan supermarket occupying the lower level. Other amenities will include a food hall, concierge service, an ecologically responsible dry cleaner, coworking area and event space.
The aim is not to just build another mall, but to create a neighbourhood “lieu de vie” (meeting place), according to Claire Marchi of Ceetrus, the property developer.
That said, shopping and dining will be a huge draw. About half of retail tenants are opening their first location in or near the grand duchy, said the firm’s Anand Remtolla. These brands’ nearest locations are often in larger cities like Brussels, Frankfurt or Paris. With that exclusivity, Ceetrus expects to attract 10m-11m visitors--a mix of Luxembourg residents, cross-border commuters and weekend shoppers from the Greater Region--annually.
Construction began in 2015 and has been organised in several stages to keep construction crews from stepping on each other’s toes. Work on several shops had not yet begun when Delano visited in early March, but Ceetrus emphatically stressed that the shopping centre would open this month on time.
1 and 2: The Cloche d’Or shopping centre seen from boulevard de Kockelscheuer during its construction, 6 March 2019. The two Zenith residential towers are part of the same complex, but with separate entrances and separate work crews. 3 and 4: The four-level parking garage has 2,850 spaces. 5: The multi-coloured exterior panels were custom-made for the shopping centre, according to Vincent Debrin, the project manager with Ceetrus in charge of the site. They have a big stock in reserve to change the panels when needed, he said.
700 construction workers
1 and 2: Construction on the Cloche d’Or shopping centre began three and a half years ago. The building was conceived by Fabeck Architectes, Schemel Wirtz Architectes and Minale Design Strategy. It earned the Breeam environmental efficiency rating of “excellent” (the second highest score). 3 and 4: The shopping centre has 18 escalators: 12 in the mall and 6 inside stores. 5: The day of Delano’s visit, 6 March 2019, there were 700 construction workers on the site. Extra large emergency exit signs are hung during construction. Debrin said that every two weeks or so a fire alarm requires all 700 people to evacuate the building (they’ve all been false alarms). Debrin also said the labour inspector (ITM) has visited the site nearly every day.
1: These lifts have already been installed and are ready to enter service. The shopping centre has a total of 11 lifts: 8 in the mall area and 3 inside stores. 2-6: The main entrance is located across the street from Deloitte’s new headquarters, which will open around the same time as the shopping centre. 7: Anand Remtolla, head of leasing at the property developer Ceetrus, speaks with journalist Aaron Grunwald. 8: Vincent Debrin of Ceetrus speaks with journalist Céline Coubray during an exclusive tour of the site, 6 March 2019.
1: Anand Remtolla and Vincent Debrin of Ceetrus, the international property firm developing the Cloche d’Or shopping centre, pose for a portrait during an exclusive tour of the site, 6 March 2019. 2: Claire Marchi, marketing manager at Ceetrus, poses for a portrait in the firm’s Luxembourg office, located nearby the Cloche d’Or shopping centre. 3: The shopping centre was 91% let on 6 March, said Remtolla. The rate rose to 94% as of 15 March. Remtolla said his firm is working with concept stores to potentially occupy the remaining spaces. 4: The glass roof sits 27m above the bottom floor. The lower level is 16.45m high, the main level is 4.85m and the upper level is 5.7m from floor to ceiling.
1-3: There were a total of 132 separate construction projects running in parallel on the site, Debrin said in March. Each project has been timed to start and finish in phases, to both minimise impact on the surrounding neighbourhood and to maximise the efficiency of work crews within the shopping centre. Auchan stared working on its space on 15 May 2018. The first mall tenants began work on 15 December 2018. The last group started on 1 April and will have six weeks to finish. The centre is scheduled to open 28 May. 4-5: Construction of the Zenith apartment blocks is carried out by a different team. There are several other building projects underway in the Cloche d’Or district. Ceetrus holds organisational meetings with the other project managers in an effort to reduce the impact on the neighbourhood by, for instance, planning lorry deliveries in tranches. Since the shopping centre is located next to the Vauban primary and secondary schools, for example, construction managers avoid scheduling deliveries at the beginning and end of the school day.
1: Once installed, storefront windows on the main level will be 4.45m high and on the upper level will be 5.7m high. 2-4: Many tenants are opening their first location inside a shopping centre or their first location in Luxembourg, the Ceetrus managers said. These retailers are not used to mall construction and may not be familiar with Luxembourg building regulations. This has added some complexity to the construction process, but also means many shops will have original designs. 5:Arket, the Nordic fashion and homeware brand owned by H&M, will open its first location in Luxembourg. The brand’s nearest store currently is in Brussels; it has not yet opened any stores in France.
1: Arket will be the only retailer at the Cloche d’Or shopping centre with a two-level shop. A wooden staircase is temporarily used to access the upper level until the escalator is installed. 2-3: Mirrored pillars are protected during construction. 4: The reflection of photographer Mike Zenari can be seen in one of the few uncovered mirrors. 5: A service stairway leading from the main to the upper level. 6-7: The glass roof has a total surface area of 2,900m² and is made up of 900 separate triangular pieces, said Debrin. The aim is to let in as much natural light as possible. To maintain the building’s energy efficiency rating, snow and ice will not be cleared away with heating elements; it will have to melt naturally.
1-2: Escalators near the future H&M clothing shop. 3: The future coworking space. 4: Construction plans hang near the future coworking space. 5-6: The courtyard in front of the future Zara clothing shop.
1: The shopping centre will be open Monday to Saturday from 9am. It will close at 8pm except on Fridays, when it will be open till 9pm. The food hall will stay open till 11:30pm Monday through Saturday. 2: The food hall will house 15 restaurants and 6 kiosks. “It’s not a food court”, stressed Remtolla. While the food hall features a distinct design (with snazzy bamboo flooring), each restaurant will have its own dining area and maintain its own identity. 3: The food hall is laid out thematically. Faster meals are found near the front. For example, there’s a burger bar located directly across from the entrance to the Deloitte building. The food kiosks will include an Amorino, Golden Bean, Rawdish, Waffle Factory and a Chinese dim sum buffet. There will also be a Starbucks. The far end is meant to be a more relaxed area, where punters can spend their soirée. A sports bar and cocktail lounge will be built in the area pictured here.
1: Experts from the technical engineering firm Sitlux check installation plans in the food hall. 2: There are only two sets of public restrooms in shopping centre: in the food hall and on the other side of the mall, on the first floor near H&M and Zara. This means shoppers will be forced to pass by (and be tempted by) shops or restaurants on their way to use the toilet. 3: Exterior windows feature two sets of glass. Debrin said the company ordered a custom-made machine for window cleaning.
Journalists: Aaron Grunwald and Céline Coubray Photographer: Mike Zenari