Droney calms the uncertainty and will replace Zara in leasing the largest commercial building on the main promenade

Droney calms the uncertainty and will replace Zara in leasing the largest commercial building on the main promenade

Business capital


04-04-2024 8:15

Brands continue to bet on the mall in Vilanova e la Geltro, but the new phenomenon of converting buildings into tiny homes is emerging

Droney calms the uncertainty and will replace Zara in leasing the largest commercial building on the main promenade. Jordi Liu

Zara's departure from central Vilanova i la Geltrú will not represent a loss in local trade. On January 30, this brand of the Inditex group ceased operations in the Rambla Principal, where it had the largest store in the city centre. Zara Kids also left along with Zara, and nearly 40 workers lost their jobs. At the time, many people wondered what would happen to the Villanova Center if the entire Inditex group finally left or if it might cause contagion to other trading houses. In fact, Zara pioneered the main commercial hub of the city. He even set the schedule and calendar for many establishments on the promenade and some clothing stores supplemented their offerings.

The commercial capital of the city is currently undisputed. The departure of Inditex's flagship brand looks set to continue that way. When there were some doubts about whether the void left by Zara could be filled again, at least four brands were interested in renting this 1,000 square meter building. Negotiations led to a reduction in the rent until it reached about 30 euros per square meter. The winner of the battle was Drone. This chain of niche perfumeries of Valencian origin has more than 300 stores across the state, two of which are in Villanova. It seems that this group is betting on Villanova to open a larger institution and provide massage and beauty services.


Unique shopping mall

Vilanova i la Geltrú has a uniqueness that makes it attractive for trade. A unique promenade, built in an open-air commercial area, a social lung, in which you can find yourself a reprisal demonstration, a popular show, a fair, various stalls, apart from the restaurant and an enviable festive calendar. “In reality, what brands are seeing is huge traffic from people wanting to buy,” says Josep Maria Ríos, co-founder of the real estate agents' association, AICAT Garraf.

“We are clear that Zara will not leave because Vilanova is no longer attractive, quite the opposite,” notes Joan Galimani, President of Viu Comerç. The departure of this brand is due to the company's policy, which wants to bet on digital commerce and maintain only face-to-face stores in the provincial capitals. The president adds: “Despite the departure of Zara, the bet on our trade is the same. The uniqueness of Vilanova is that in the same outer area, integrated into the city, you can find local brands and trade.”

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However, Viu Comerç realizes that it has a lot of work to do to maintain local trade. “We have a key role in the human accompaniment of the sale, in enhancing the social reality of face-to-face buying, in detailed product advice and in the trust that the seller can bring to the customer. This is the difference, it is an advantage and an added value for traditional trade,” says Joan Galimani. “There is also the question of Sustainability in local trade. Distribution, labor and raw materials in other countries have become more expensive. Selling fills the need. The seller provides information about his needs and satisfies them at the moment.” Words by Mercy Codina.

Ana Ribera, advisor to the Economic Promotion Council, also defends consumer education, saying: “We all complain, but we all buy digitally. Local commerce must also focus on its sales model, and many of them are doing it well, and new ways must be found to attract customers.” “. “Created. Complete with digital sales of course. In this sense, there are plans for training and support for digital commerce.”


The relationship between rent and the economy

The commercial building rental market moves frequently with economic cycles. There were warnings that there would be a very big crisis at the end of 2022, but that did not happen. Avinguda Francesc Macià had many empty buildings for a long time. When stability was achieved, they began to be rented, but at prices less than 2,000 euros per month. “In Carrer Capotexen and Sant Sebastia there is not a single building empty. On Rambla Principal, the price has fallen, but at the beginning of the year there were seven or eight empty buildings, which had never happened before. But in these first months of the year,” explains Joan María Ríos. With the economic boom, there has been good movement of brands interested in coming to Villanova. The buildings are rented. “You may see a lot of rental signs, but the operations are closed.”

On Vilanova's Golden Mile, between Carrer de Cervantes and a little further to Carrer Manuel Márquez, prices range between 30 and 60 euros per square meter. The average shop rent ranges between 5,000 and 6,000 euros per month. “There are slaps coming to Vilanova. The highest price is the Golden Mile. All commercial rental rates are based on this,” says Mercy Codina, treasurer of Viu Comerç. The Merchants Union confirms that the rental price has decreased “and is being rationalized, as many prefer to have an open place instead of waiting to rent it at the high price they have set. The price must be in line with the economy of the moment.” “…Vilanova has become an oasis of local trade as shopkeepers migrate here, in this authentic corner, far from other city centers with the proliferation of bazaars or fast food establishments,” concludes Joan Galimani.

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Ana Ribera, city projection consultant; Economic and capital promotion; Business and Social Economy admits the local government had some concerns about Zara's departure, and what it could mean for the 40 workers who lost their jobs. But without interfering in the negotiations, they immediately verified the brands' interest in coming to Villanova. “We must be on top of this problem, and we must continue to maintain this uniqueness and attractiveness,” the councilwoman says. “We must continue to cooperate with trade, along with the restaurant and tourism sectors.”


Commercial stock leasing

From Promoció Econòmica they did not want to give too many details about the process that will be visible from May to improve empty commercial buildings, on the streets outside the Golden Mile. The idea is to take advantage of empty buildings and use them as a kind of showcase for shops that are not located in the center. It is the concept of pop-up stores, where some brands or stores rely on short-term rentals to sell specific promotional products, as well as as temporary display spaces or to develop so-called experiential marketing around the products. AICAT Garraf advises the city council to act quickly if it wants to launch this process, “because there are no empty spaces anyway. There is a feverish demand for rent in the centre,” says Josep María Ríos.

The Economic Promotion Advisor comments that an inventory is being made of empty buildings in Nucli Antic and Geltrú so that craft businesses, treatments or establishments with a certain charm can be opened there. These entrepreneurs have the support of the Penedes-Graff community, which helps them develop a business plan. Viu Comerç confirms that it has been working with the council for some time to stimulate trade in other areas outside the center. “We should be looking for commercial stimulation, revitalizing these streets so that each neighborhood has its own commercial identity,” says Joan Galimani.

Contrary to this optimism, AICAT Graf believes that the commercial area is unified. “It will be difficult for it to grow. In areas like Nucli Antic or Geltrú, there is currently no demand for buildings to open this profile of offices or more personal stores. Therefore, it would be better to convert buildings or basements with parking,” adds Josep María Ríos. In these areas in housing if there is demand.

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Converting commercial buildings into homes

In fact, the owner of Finques Rius points to a new phenomenon: the conversion of ground floors, whether buildings or parking lots, into homes. “We are talking about buildings in secondary commercial lines that could be homes, which can be easily rented. Few owners of commercial buildings decide to do remodeling into residences even though they may get more profit from it, because they see the complexity of the project,” says Graff, founder AICAT: “Yes, there are investors who already have a renovation team and have experience. They can buy, renovate, then sell or rent.”

“This has become fashionable, but there are problems in terms of urban planning. In Geltru and Old Nocle, the housing density cannot be increased, because of the key to urban planning. The limitation is that in just 100 meters you can build a building,” says Xavier Mallofré, treasurer of AICAT Garraf. The house is there. Therefore, apartments should have four rooms or very spacious rooms. There is no such request.” This entity asked the new municipal government PSC and Vilanova en Comú Podemos to shorten the processing of major business permits (which can last up to eight months) and increase the density of permitted housing, to facilitate the change of commercial use to residential.

Today, family units are smaller, young people want to free themselves, and 50% of the population is separated, single, or widowed. There is a high demand for small housing. “But, on the other hand, you find apartments in Nucli Antic and Geltrú with an area of ​​100 square metres. From urban planning, two things can be done to meet the demand for small housing: change the key to urban planning in the center to improve empty spaces or create a new building. But changes in management are slow Very,” concludes Josep María Ríos

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