Galeria Sukcesja fails the test of time

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2020-06-30   18:44
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Galeria Sukcesja opened with a glitzy, star-studded party, complete with famous musicians and numerous attractions to bring in the crowds. One video from the event even went viral, featuring crowds of shoppers racing up the down escalators in order to win a free hamburger. Just five years later, Galeria Sukcesja in Łódź has failed and is closing for good thanks to difficulties that pre-date the pandemic. For the past year, the center has been in administration. But now that its parent company, Fabryka Biznesu (owned by Łódź businessman Krzysztof Apostolidis) has been declared bankrupt, the shopping center will be closed.

“Many will associate this case with COVID-19, but Sukcesja was doomed ages ago,” claims Jolanta Jasionowska-Kasiak, who negotiated deals on behalf of some of the shopping center’s tenants. “We all knew where this was heading a long time ago. It was decisions from the past that led to this. I guess the main problem was that the investors themselves lacked the experience and knowledge which caused many tenants to shy away.”

Over the last five years, the shopping center went through several agencies that tried to turn the tide, but sources claim that the owners were not open to suggestions. High rent prices but lower than expected footfall figures meant that tenants couldn't make a profit.

“I had many clients who pulled out at the last moment as they couldn’t reach an agreement with the owners and lease managers. The empty spaces put many people off and meant that the footfall dropped. Most of the tenants wanted to renegotiate, but the owners and the banks were reluctant to do so. It was only when things got critical that they opened up to talk, but at that point many tenants had already made a decision to terminate their contracts,” says Jasionowska-Kasia.

Sources warn that Sukcesja is just first of several bankruptcies that we can expect to witness in the coming year.