It will see an investment of more than Euro 180 million and, just for the Designer Outlet, the creation of more than 2,000 (full time and part time) jobs.
The scheme is part of a wider mixed-use project, in which Schoonmeers Bugten (majority owned by Banimmo and a minority shareholder in the public-private partnership Grondbank The Loop, the owner of several land plots in 'The Loop' district) has entered into an agreement with SoGent (the real estate development entity of the city of Ghent and the majority shareholder in Grondbank The Loop) to transfer two sites for the development of the scheme, as well as for a 6,300 sq m big-box store and 21,000 sq m of offices.
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Ghent will offer nearly 200 stores, including the most sought-after names in luxury, designer and lifestyle fashion, with both globally recognised local and international brands, with year-round savings of 30-70 per cent, and including a wide range of cafes and restaurants, and a children's play area. To complete the day-out experience, the scheme's 14,500 sq m of leisure will include an eight-screen multiplex cinema and a bowling alley.
Planning permission (RUP-Ruimtelijk Uitvoeringsplan and the socio-economic permit) has already been granted for the scheme, with building permits expected to be delivered by mid 2014 and for works to commence on site late 2014. The scheme will be developed in two phases, with a planned opening for end of 2016.
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Ghent will be the only designer outlet in what is one of the most densely populated and affluent catchments in Europe, with over 15 million consumers living within a 90 minutes' drive of the centre and nearly two million within 30 minutes. This makes it the second biggest catchment for a McArthurGlen Designer Outlet after the Group's very successful Designer Outlet Roermond in the Netherlands, which opened in 2001.
The scheme is in the heart of 'The Loop' district in Ghent, with direct links to the neighbouring IKEA and the Flanders Expo Centre, and near the headquarters of KBC Bank and a 170-bedroom Holiday Inn hotel. The site is located off the city's ring road, at the intersection of Belgium's two main motorways, the E17 linking Antwerp to Lille/Paris, and the E40, connecting Brussels with Bruges, and the popular weekend and summer coastal destinations, including Knokke-le-Zoute and the ferry port town of Oostende.
Pieter Van Voorst Vader, Development Director, McArthurGlen, says: "The site in Ghent in 'The Loop' district presents an unmatched opportunity given the size of the catchment, the affluence of the area and the huge tourism potential. The location is unbeatable, with great access by car, by public transport, with a designated tram stop on the doorstep and good access by bicycle too. We are already seeing a very strong interest from our brand partners to open at the centre, as well as from well-known aspirational Belgian brands."
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