Shopping Centers Today International

MAR 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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C E N T E R S T A G E Grand entrance For luxury brands, soho mall is a gateway to panama By María Bird Picó S o h o M a l l n o t o n l y brought a new luxurious shopping environment to Panama City when it opened in april, it also introduced several luxury international retailers into Panama ó including Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Dior, Fendi, Kate Spade, Prada, Rolex and Saint laurent. Panamanians who previously had to travel abroad to acquire such luxury brands now need go no farther than the city's finan- cial district. Moreover, the tourists who stay at any of the roughly 15 luxury hotels nearby are patronizing the mall too ó about half its 6,000 visitors daily are tourists. the 58,000-square-meter (about 624,000 square feet) Soho Mall, built by Soho Devel- opers, a subsidiary of Westline Enterprises, offers four levels of retail ó plus five levels of parking that can accommodate 3,400 ve- hicles. Soho Mall is part of a $500 million mixed-use project that is to include two office buildings, one of which is already open, plus a casino and gardens. a Ritz-Carlton hotel is set to open in early 2017. "Soho Mall has managed in a few months to appeal to an exclusive international and Panamanian consumer target," said Raul Por- tugal, brand manager for U.S. sports chain Columbia, which Grupo Sport Panama op- erates as a franchise in some latin american countries. though Columbia also has stores in other Panama malls, it stocks its more ex- pensive lines at Soho Mall. Soho Mall is one of several upscale malls that have opened across latin america in re- cent years in response to demand for luxury goods and lower import tariffs. Panama's low tariffs and tax rates make it a particu- larly inviting destination for foreign visitors. Panama City's retail market is especially hot, with at least a dozen retail centers, with a combined gross leasable area of some 215,000 square meters projected to open be- tween now and June 2017. Some existing malls have also heightened their high-end retail offer. Multiplaza Pacific, whose owner is Grupo Roble, Central amer- ica's biggest mall operator, added on a luxury wing in 2007 and then nearly doubled the number of its luxury shops with an expan- sion completed in 2014. Soho Mall execu- tives say their shopping center sets itself apart from others through its retailers and services. Its concierges book restaurant and hotel res- ervations and also order tickets for shows and movies. and Soho provides transportation in the form of a fleet of cars and a shuttle bus to nearby hotels. the 110-store mall, with a Col- lins high-end Panamanian department store as an anchor, offers a Cinépolis VIP multi- plex, some upscale restaurants and a gym. the biggest challenge has been talking luxury brands into betting on the mall and on Panama. Until Soho opened, the only latin america stores of Bottega Veneta, Dior, Fendi, Saint laurent and the like were in Bra- zil and Mexico only. the mall opened with only 10 percent of its space leased, but this soon climbed to 80 percent. "Soho Mall represents Panama's eco- nomic bonanza," said Danny Quirós, director of real estate valuation and con- sulting at Colliers Panama, which has no business ties to the mall. SCT +1 646 728 3800 Fax: +1 732 694 1730 Editor in Chief EDMUnD ManDER +1 646 728 3487 E D I T O R I A L Managing Editor BRannon BoSWEll +1 646 728 3488 Government Relations Editor StEPhanIE loCKWooD Copy Chief DaVID S. oRtIZ Copy Editor KRIStIna ElDREDGE Art Director John D. lEWIS Contributing Editors StEVE BERGSMan MaRÍa BIRD PIC" JoEl GRooVER BEth MattSon-tEIG StEVE M clInDEn REBECCa MEISER anna RoBaton SPEnCER RUMSEy BEnnEtt VoylES A D V E R MIChaEl BEllI +1 714 313 1942 ShEIla ChaRton +1 646 728 3545 aMIE lEIBoVItZ +1 773 360 1179 Sally StEPhEnSon +1 847 835 1617 Production Manager DaVID StaCKhoUSE +1 646 728 3482 I C S C O F F I C E R S Chair man StEPhEn D. lEBoVItZ President and CEO thoMaS M cGEE Vice Chairman ElIZaBEth I. hollanD Past Chairman RoBERt F. WElanEtZ, CRX, CSM Treasurer GlEn halE Publisher PatRICIa noRInS For article reprints, call (866) 879-9144 or contact S H O P P I N G C E N T E R S T O D A Y SCT (ISSN 0885-9841) is pub lished monthly. VOLUME 37, ISSUE 3 © 2016, International Coun cil of Shop ping Cen ters, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020-1099; phone, +1 (646) 728 3800; fax, +1 732 694 1730. All rights reserved. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y., and ad di tion al mailing offces. Sub scrip- tions $70 per year; Canada and other foreign $99. Single- copy price $10 (May issue $20). For subscription informa- tion call +1 727 784 2000. POST MAS TER: Send address changes to Shopping Cen ters Today, Sawida Worley, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020-1099. Publications mail agreement No. 41482022, return unde- liverable Canadian addresses to PO Box 503, RPO West Beaver Creek, Richmond Hill ON L4B 4R6.

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