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27 September 2019

“City2 – Re.Born”: A renaissance orchestrated by AG Real Estate

AG Real Estate Corporate

Determined to emerge as a city stakeholder, AG Real Estate is currently finalizing the renovation of City2 and surfing on the #Bxlove trend launched by the City of Brussels.

Determined to emerge as a city stakeholder, AG Real Estate is currently finalizing the renovation of City2 and surfing on the #Bxlove trend launched by the City of Brussels.

The largest shopping centre in the heart of Brussels, City2 covers an area of 34,000 m² on four levels. With the radical and complete overhaul that has taken 20 months, it is reasserting itself as the capital’s urban and diversified shopping mall.

City2 plays host to more than 13 million customers a year and benefits from a strategic location in the most variegating shopping district in Brussels.

Serge Fautré, CEO of AG Real Estate comments: “With the renovation of our commercial assets in the centre of Brussels, we have anticipated the new urban needs, the diversity of the population and the search for innovation by bringing new chain stores to our city. We are proud to contribute to the renewal of the city centre and to revive its appeal.

A shopping centre integrated into its environment

Amaury de Crombrugghe, Chief Investment Officer at AG Real Estate, adds: “The Retail sector in its in initial version is undergoing a revolution. Renovating City2 and retaining its maximum utilization was a real tour de force. We have paid particular and undivided attention to the interactions with the public and retailers to maintain this activity. The challenge has been taken up! We can say that City2 is a hub for shopping discovery, gustatory pleasure and a wide variety of services.

The refurbishment works of the centre have completely transformed the interior flows of City2. Upon entering the shopping centre, from the underground station or the Rue Neuve, shoppers find themselves in a welcoming environment that is easy to move around and are swept to another more spacious and more ventilated world. Natural light comes into its own thanks to the creation of a new atrium and the renovation of two existing ones.

The customer itinerary is pared down by the realignment of shopping windows for improved visibility of the outlets, who are major players and the real commercial value of City2.

The deployment of new techniques, renovation of the floors, replacement of columns and ceilings by more modern and attractive elements as well as the very urban treatment of entrances, corridors, floors, etc. have infused a whiff of surprising modernity on the whole.

The architect of the project for Altiplan, Charles-Albert van Hecke confirmed the new dimensions of City2: “New legibility, new concept, new food court, new outlets to turn this place into an important gateway and open window onto the City, conferring a welcoming dimension that makes you want to linger and bolsters its appeal to restore its role of indispensable counterpoint to the commercial offer in the centre of Brussels.

EATS! The first food court in Belgium

Riding on the wave of food halls, the City of Brussels can now boast of having Belgium’s first food court, thanks to AG Real Estate. This decidedly modern, completely open venue, with urban architecture, covering an area of more than 1,500 m² with sitting of different types for more than 400 people, is dedicated entirely to food and beverage.

The stakeholders of City2’s renewal and partners of its refurbishment include YouStudio, whose team tackled the design of the place, as well as the design and construction of the food court.

Patrick Glauden, founder of You Studio explains: “A junction for shoppers, the new food court EATS (a short, international, easy-to-remember word) fits perfectly in with the City2 baseline “It’s Brussels,” was designed as the lung of the shopping centre – accessible, contemporary, connected to the underground but also to the city. The deliberately raw and colourful decoration marks a departure from and a contrast to the other floors. There are many and varied seating areas that are welcoming while providing privacy. The catering centre, visible from the upper floors, constitutes a real stage for the creation of festive moments with a general layout based on sharing.

The City2 food court is a ever so inviting temple of gustatory pleasure with 20 eateries one more delectable than the next, featuring in particular Five Guys, Copper Branch, Lasagne & Tiramisu, Mujgan, Can Tho, Bägl, Libanoo, Wasabi Green, …

The strategy was to create an identity, a global brand to communicate a summation of tastes. With its four letters, EATS, federates a self-evident graphic under the same banner, in a harmonious and effervescent setting,” Patrick Glauden continues. “A living, vibrant, multiple and chaotic melting pot – one its designers were bent to “organize in a disorganized manner.” A beating heart, ever so Brussels and multicultural, intent on being welcoming, for colleagues or friends, and one that attracts white-collar workers and families alike.

Successful marketing

In modernizing its shopping centre, AG Real Estate has added a quality retail hub in the centre of town and is inviting a new public to go to City2.

AG Real Estate has also succeeded in renewing the commercial offer and in attracting new brands while fostering a facelift for existing shops.

In addition to EATS, City2 today boasts nearly 80 shops, and 16 new outlets, including some I an exclusive capacity in Belgium (*) or Brussels (**): (Sostrene Grene (**), Madame Coco (**), Only, Jack & Jones, Kruidvat, Hans Anders, Eyes & More, Hairdis, Smizze (*), Courir (*), Du Pareil au même, etc.) but also some thirty reference already present before the works who took advantage of this period to renovate their floor space or to install their latest design in the centre: Carrefour, Zara, Vandenborre, Massimo Dutti, SportsDirect, Hunkemöller, Rituals, …

All these outlets enable us to state that the new City2 remains an indispensable retail hub in the centre of town.

Plus service!

The renovation works also afforded a sterling opportunity to attract and develop new products and services.

City2 wishes to offer its customer an exclusive experience and to keep them optimally satisfied. That is why new, attractive services will be placed at their disposal as of the end of September:

  • Drop it: A secure digital delivery service, unique in continental Europe, which will deliver all purchases from partner shops to the delivery address of the customer’s choice in the 19 municipalities of Brussels, whether to a home, office or hotel.
  • Smile by City2: A loyalty app that will reward repeat visitors of City2 with specific benefits: discounts in shops, free services, access to exclusive competitions, etc… To put a smile on a customer’s face.
  • Deliveroo: The partnership concluded will Deliveroo will enable employees of companies near City2 to get their meals ordered from EATS delivered as promptly as possible!
  • Gift Card: The City2 gift card has been revamped and is now the ideal gift for those who simply could not choose from the many shops that accept this means of payment. An ideal way for the most demanding customers to choose their own gift themselves. An offbeat campaign with a touch of impertinence will support the promotion of this gift card.

The customer’s visit is moreover enhanced thanks to two new digital screens, one gracing the panoramic lift shaft and showing inspiring films, the other placed 12 metres high against the wall of the south atrium, at the Botanique level. The latter Samsung LED screen is a 42 m² technological gem, currently the largest in the Benelux. It is the idea medium for interacting with visitors during major events at City2.

Finally, a promotional campaign has since 17 September touted the shopping centre’s new identity on trams, buses, cluster valves and even on the digital screens of the Brussels underground. The key messages of this campaign call on citizens to « Re.Love », « Re.Live », « Re.Style », Re.Taste » and above all « Re.Visit » City2.

What is next …

AG Real Estate has spared no effort to get the alterations of the interior of City2 completed on schedule. The challenge has been taken up successfully. For the facades, the acquisition of the permits will make it possible to proceed with the exterior works which, once completed, will bring to a close this major project which was launched at then of 2017. These exterior works are being carried out in perfect synergy with the works on the Rue Neuve, which will redesign the major shopping artery once and for all.

AG REAL ESTATE

AG Real Estate, a wholly owned subsidiary of AG Insurance, is an integrated real estate operator active in Belgium, France, Luxembourg and on certain select European markets with expertise in different lines of business: Asset & Property Management, Development & Construction Management, PPP and real estate financing, as well as in Car Park Management through its subsidiary Interparking.

A city stakeholder, AG Real Estate has a workforce of more than 250 employees with varied profiles and skills.

With a portfolio under management (for its own account and on behalf of third parties) of more than €6.5 billion, AG Real Estate strives to address responsibly the new urban needs and is implementing a sustainable development policy to give even more sense to its projects.

Roxane Decraemer
AG Real Estate Corporate

Roxane Decraemer

Strategic Marketing, External Communication & PR Manager

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Aurore Moens
AG Real Estate Corporate

Aurore Moens

Communication & PR Manager

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