Mar 20, 2018
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Former V&D Groningen building to house pop-up mall

Mar 20, 2018

The Groningen building that formerly housed the now-bankrupt department stores V&D as well as Topshelf will be transformed into a pop-up mall. The mall will be designed to host multiple retailers at once.

Grote Markt area Groningen - Photo: Wikimedia

The concept was the idea of real estate developer Ralph Steenbergen, who aims to give the Grote Markt area of Groningen more meaning, reports local newspaper Dagblad van het Noorden. Steenbergen told the newspaper that he wants to develop a shopping mall that will increase the footfall in the area. “There are a lot of visitors for H&M, but that’s about it,” he said about the Grote Markt area, which is located in the heart of the city. Besides greater footfall, the shopping mall should become a ‘living retail lab’ where retailers will be able to test products and services.

Additionally, Steenbergen wants to create a mall that is accessible and fits the residents of Groningen: “We simply enjoy ‘normal’ things more than we enjoy glitter and glamour.” According to him, Topshelf did not fit the preferences of the people of Groningen.

In December 2015 Dutch department store chain V&D filed for bankruptcy after 128 years of operations. In 2016 department store chain Topshelf announced that it would be opening additional branches in former V&D buildings, offering job opportunities for former V&D employees as well as further expanding the chain. However, a year later Topshelf announced that it would close its stores as a result of disappointing sales. 

Canadian department store chain Hudson’s Bay, which debuted on the Dutch market in 2017, also announced a branch in Groningen. Earlier this year, these plans were halted following the cancellation of further expansion of Hudson’s Bay in the Netherlands.

The city of Groningen agreed upon Steenbergen’s plans last week. Steenbergen now has six months to develop his plans, hoping to open the mall as soon as possible.

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