Puerto Venecia is a 2.2 million-square-foot complex that utterly redefines the notion of a shopping center. Spain's largest retail and leisure destination, it offers stores, cinemas and restaurants centered around a man-made canal and lake spanning nearly 108,000 square feet. In addition, extensive resort amenities include a 32,292-square-foot outdoor park with rope courses, adventure trails and a zip line; an outdoor ice rink; a children's roller coaster; rental boats on the lake; and a double-static surf wave. In 2006, CBRE became involved as a consultant to the project developers, British Land and Orion Capital Managers. CBRE was subsequently named leasing agent for the 1.4 million-square-foot fashion mall and won the property management assignment as well. Puerto Venecia was 90 percent leased upon opening in 2012, during one of Spain's most difficult economic periods in recent history.
"CBRE was selected because of its leadership in the property management, leasing and shopping center management industry in Spain, as well as its significant capacity to contribute in terms of international expertise," said Jose Antonio Mejia, General Manager, Eurofund Investments, the joint venture between British Land and Orion Capital Managers for Puerto Venecia.
"It was very challenging to undertake a development of that scale with negative GDP and unemployment at about 25 percent, in a location outside of Madrid and Barcelona," said Enrique Martínez Laguna, Executive Managing Director, CBRE Spain. "The only way was to create an extraordinary and dynamic destination, fully integrated with the community, where families could enjoy the whole day together."
CBRE brought its multidisciplinary expertise to bear in the planning phase. "The whole retail team collaborated on the development consultancy–experts in technical areas, consumer experience, leasing, facilities and shopping center management," explained Alex Barbany Fernandez, National Director of Retail, CBRE Spain. "What the leasing professionals do has implications for the operating professionals, who are sitting next to them, so there is an alignment of interest. To have that integrated view of the project really adds value."
CBRE also brought international best practices from its EMEA retail team to the table, including lessons from Westfield Stratford City, the new commercial district in London developed in conjunction with the Olympic Games.
"Westfield was the largest recent shopping center development in Europe and provided a distinctive reference in advanced concepts, trends consumers wanted, new retail brands looking to expand, and the best-in-class approach to client satisfaction," Martínez Laguna explained. "The developers were particularly interested in a combined team of U.K. and Spanish professionals, bringing an international element into the shopping center."
Puerto Venecia showcases CBRE's ability to draw international retailers to new developments amid economic uncertainty, and will also be a center of innovation in property management. "We are incorporating new levels of service, and using tools to motivate maintenance, security and landscaping professionals, so they are not there just to improve or secure the facilities, but have a smile on their faces and can help any customers coming in with whatever they need," Barbany Fernandez explained. "That's the level of excellence our client expects here, because they created something that goes well beyond a shopping center."