A new, better model?

Retail & leisure
POLAND The creators of the Modo Domy Mody project, which is being developed on ul. Łopuszańska in Warsaw’s south-western Włochy district, are not only hoping for it to become a permanent fixture in the capital city’s retail landscape but also for it to make its presence known on the fashion and design map of the city.

Will Warsaw finally have its own SoHo? Modo stands out from retail parks and shopping centres not only due to the concept of its layout – boutiques with areas ranging from app. 20 sqm to over 100 sqm in one location – but also because of the marriage of stores and fashion brands of various profiles, from Polish to international high-end designers, to manufacturers and distributors from Southern Europe that are more accessible in terms of prices. In contrast to the traditional shopping centres, which are frequently dominated by mostly the same large fashion retail chains, Modo Domy Mody is to offer a boutique area to small and medium-sized retailers who want to focus on having more direct contact with consumers – unlike the market giants. According to Devin Investments, the developer of the project, who will also be responsible for its commercialisation (together with DTZ), the centre is already 70 pct leased. “Poles are not yet entirely familiar with shopping that involves meeting and talking with the producer or negotiating prices directly with the seller,” explains Nazim Albayrak, a board member of Devin Investments, who has previously been responsible for the creation and management of the Maximus wholesale centre in Nadarzyn near Warsaw. He now claims that Poles have warmed to this more Middle Eastern sales model, where a conversation with the customer is often much more significant in the purchasing process than the transaction itself.

Zonal shopping

The opening of Modo is planned for the beginning of October. A total of 350 boutiques will open over a retail area of 16,000 sqm. The one-storey shopping centre will consist of three combined halls, which will also be able to function as autonomous shopping zones thanks to separate entrances. The first of these, Art Fashion, is to include boutiques of the leading Polish designers as well as a shared commercial exhibition area (the ‘showroom’), temporary shops and stalls for young fashion designers (or pop-up stores) and a place for fashion fairs and shows. The Brand Fashion zone will in turn feature multi-brand boutiques and shops as well as the specialised clothing brands more familiar to the Polish market. Meanwhile, the Pop Fashion area will be leased by individual producers, distributors and importers of medium range and bottom-shelf clothing and accessories (app. 60 pct of all tenants). It is not only the tenants of the centre that differ from each other, but also the interiors of the individual sections. More refined materials are, for instance, to be used to finish the passageways in the Art Fashion section. The designers who are to open boutiques there include Teresa Rosati, Natasha Pavluchenko and Łukasz Jemioł. Devin Investments attributes the large number of tenants already signed up to its own contacts with manufacturers and retailers.

Not such atypical marketplace

“Our concept bears a slight resemblance to that of the department store. We have fashion brands of various standards with the latest ranges directly from the producer or importer,” explains Nazim Albayrak. This is why the developer is trying to avoid relying on the ‘average customer’ profile and instead is targeting all the possible groups potentially interested in visiting the 26,000 sqm centre. Modo will also have a glazed food court, situated between two halls, as well as a number of small service outlets. A Piotr i Paweł supermarket is to open near one of the main entrances to the centre. The developer has also purchased a number of neighbouring plots that could be used to construct the second stage of the project in the future (which could be an office building or a hotel) or for an extension of the car park, which currently has 1,000 spaces. Investment costs for the Modo project come to around PLN 150 mln. The general contractor Budner is now close to completing the centre, according to an architectural design by Pracownia APA Wojciechowski. Modo will be located near the junction with al. Krakowska and so will not have much competition nearby – the closest shopping centres with a fashion offer are Blue City and Galeria Mokotów (both about 4 km away). However, it is the type of lease contracts signed that are intended to be the key to the success of the project. In order to ensure a continuous inflow of customers, Modo will offer tie-in agreements to its tenants (providing the operator of the centre with some of the goods offered for marketing purposes), and in some cases turnover-based rents and even weekly sales campaigns agreed on in advance for the entire centre, during which it will be possible to buy products at their production prices. Modo also wants to help its tenants to develop their businesses by fostering cooperation between the designers and manufacturers of clothing and accessories.