By: CHRIS GRAEME
IBERIAN COMMERCIAL property developer Chamartín is to develop a massive new Dolce Vita shopping centre in the Algarve.
The decision was announced by the property giant’s Portuguese CEO Jaime Lopes, who said that the new state-of-the-art mall would probably be located in Faro.
The company is also involved in a development project called Mais Leiria with the local câmara to build another shopping centre for the city in its centre.
The developer is currently working on two other major shopping centre projects under the Dolce Vita brand in Tejo and Braga and is awaiting final planning permission for the third in Leiria.
Chamartín Imobiliaria is one of the largest commercial property developers on the Iberian peninsula with 500 staff in Spain, Portugal and Germany. It owns a 50 per cent stake in the Meermann Group in Germany and a 100 per cent stake in the Portuguese property giant Amorim, which it bought earlier this year.
The Dolce Vita Leiria project is part of an overall urban regeneration and modernization project for the historic city north of Lisbon.
But Chamartín is up against three stiff competitors for the new shopping mall in that city and a decision on the winning bid will only be announced Lisbon Câmara in December.
“It’s a very ambitious project which represents an amazing and fantastic challenge for us, one whereby we would have to get the best urban planners, traffic management consultants and architects on board,” said Jaime Lopes.
“The project is more than just a shopping centre; it’s urban regeneration in the heart of Leiria and would bring the city into the 21st century,” he added.
On Thursday last week yet another shopping centre, although on a more modest scale, opened in Porto’s downtown Santa Catarina shopping district.
The Gran Porto Plaza includes the largest Mediamarkt electrical and computer goods store in Portugal, Minipreço supermarket, as well as a state-of-the-art Virgin Active health club where members can join for as little as 60 euros a month.
The project of developers Ferreiros & Almeida and Martifer, the new centre covers 19,500 metres square, has 80 shops and represents an investment of 60 million euros.
On October 31 another shopping centre opened in Castelo Branco, Forum Castelo Branco, which is the development project brainchild of Multi Development and represented an investment of 53 million euros on a 18,300 metre square site with 76 shops and 15 restaurants.
Despite a perceived economic crisis in Portugal with high family consumer indebtedness, the shopping centre development market continues to be one of the most lucrative engines of the economy in the country.
In 2006 the capital return on direct investment in such projects ran at a massive 21 per cent with a growth of 6.7 per cent on 2005 and a return on rentable investment at 6.9 per cent.
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