Wereldhave’s Itis shopping centre is one of Finland’s largest shopping centres, with 94,000 m² of retail. Wereldhave owns the entire freehold of the building and the land.
In Finland, occupancy improved by 50bps to 95.8% at September 30, 2016. The largest new lease that was signed during the third quarter was with OP Bank for the expansion of their floor space in Itis. They are expected to re-open in December. Other new leases during Q3 are Sievi (shoes), Fonum (mobile device maintenance) and ShoeMarket. Sievi and Fonum have already opened, ShoeMarket will open in January. There were also several pop-up leases signed for the Christmas season. During Q3 three restaurants opened in Itis. PastaBox, Fafa’s (Mediterranean food) and Lucky Bastard (up-market burgers). All of these leases had been signed during the first half of the year.
In 2016, Wereldhave made a strategic review of its presence in Finland, including consultations of several investors and stakeholders. We have experienced considerations for the exposure to department stores which unfortunately, with the bankruptcy of Anttila, became manifest. Also in view of the Finnish economy which is still subdued due to an uncertain economical and political environment, Wereldhave has decided that it is not the right timing for a disposal of its Finnish asset. We aim to reposition the Itis shopping centre and are ambitious to further improve the shopping experience by offering better and new leisure to the centre and optimising the food court, thus enhancing Itis’ already strong (and increasing) footfall. An important step was made in December 2016 with the signing of a lease for a cinema in Itis.
Wereldhave Finland reached agreement with Finnkino to open a 9 screen cinema, with an anticipated opening at the end of 2018. The cinema with a unique concept for Finland will be the first in East Helsinki and it will be an excellent addition to the leisure offer at Itis. Finnkino is the market leader in Finland with 98 screens in 14 cinemas in 11 cities. They are part of Nordic Cinema Group, the market leader in the Nordics, with 469 screens in 6 countries, amongst which is the recently opened cinema in the mall of Scandinavia in Stockholm. The lease is for a fixed term of 15 years.
The cinema will be constructed in the area that is currently used by the department store Anttila, with the entrance and 5 screens on the ground floor and a further 4 screens on the first floor. Anttila will close by 31 December 2016. The Antilla department store occupied approx. 6,500 m² of shopping space. The cinema will take-up approx. 4,500 m² of net lettable floor space over 2 levels and is scheduled for opening at the end of 2018. Adding a cinema to Itis will change the entire nature of the shopping centre, improving the attractiveness and creating a solid basis to further improve the food and beverage and leisure offer. It will clearly enhance Itis’s status as the leading shopping centre in Finland. Annual footfall of Itis at the end of 2016 is already at 17m visitors. Our estimate is that with the cinema the footfall of the centre will increase with at least 500,000 visitors per year.