MPC Properties, one of the leading real estate development and management companies in Serbia, discusses the importance of transforming shopping centers into community spaces where people can learn, socialize, and feel a sense of belonging.
The traditional concept of shopping centers has evolved, and modern shoppers are no longer interested in just retail offerings. Today’s shoppers are seeking additional value when visiting a shopping center, and building a community around the space has become increasingly important.
MPC Properties, a company with five shopping centers in its portfolio, has recognized this need and is investing heavily in engaging the community. We spoke with Uroš Blagojević, Head of Property Management at MPC, to gain insights into how they are transforming their shopping centers into community spaces and what benefits these spaces offer to visitors.
How has MPC recognized this need of today’s shoppers?
Firstly, we highlight that MPC Properties has five shopping centers in its portfolio: Ušće, BEO, Mercator, Delta City, and Immo Outlet. The network they make up covers all key parts of the city, with Ušće being a long-standing city landmark in Belgrade. Built in excellent locations, each of them recognizes the needs of its “local” visitors while also considering the broader community.
The second important element, common to all centers, is the commitment to the green agenda, i.e., the care for the health of visitors. We remind you that UŠĆE Shopping Center is one of the first and largest shopping centers in the region and Europe to receive a LEED EBOM certificate in the segment of “Operational Asset”. Also, the “youngest” center, BEO Shopping Center, was built to the highest green building standards and has already won two International Property Awards for “Best Retail Architecture” and “Best Retail Interior”, as well as a CIJ Award for „Best Retail Development“. We must not forget also about the alternative forms of transportation that the centers encourage, as well as solar panels, green roof gardens, beehives on the roof, along with the latest composting project.
Our overall commitment to the well-being of the local community is reflected by the fact that we are the first company in Serbia that has been awarded the most prestigious “WELL Health-Safety” certificate for a portfolio of eight business and retail facilities, by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).
So, how do shopping centers become increasingly significant in the community?
Ušće Shopping Center is celebrating its 14th birthday this April. For the same number of years, it has been a trending place, where urban events, fashion, sports, and various entertainment content are realized. Visitors know that, just in line with its name, Ušće will be the place where urban trends converge, and many actually start from there. The planned physical refurbishment of the center will emphasize its landmark status.
Mercator Center has a concept ideal for business people, featuring a selected premium offer, as well as cafes and restaurants that are suitable for a variety of occasions, ranging from formal meetings to casual social gatherings after work. The purpose of the Mercator Center brand is to inspire a life full of taste. We are talking about a passion that lies in the details, giving preference to quality over quantity and the art of living. With a pinch of sophistication, Mercator Center inspires different areas of modern life today: art, culture, gastronomy, wine tasting, travel, hobbies, and home decor.
BEO Shopping Center is the newest local attraction that opened in 2020 and from the very beginning, it has based its operations on value and originality. Its message of “BEO Yourself” promotes various programs such as “BEO Talent” and “Beo Runners”, through which it is the ONLY market player investing resources in supporting the community and all its members. We can easily say that the center with its unique activities and rich offer has truly spiced up the life of the whole neighborhood, making it a favorite social gathering place.
Delta City, which was acquired in December 2021 by MPC, has a strong heritage as it was the first modern shopping center to be built in Belgrade in 2007. As it is still recognized as a popular family destination, we have taken great steps to cater to their needs through tailored activities and offerings. The mall has undergone partial refurbishment, resulting in an authentic and stylish shopping center that features a diverse range of entertainment, gastronomic and retail offerings. Overall, Delta City treasures timeless values and a sense of belonging.
Immo Outlet Center also embraces these same family values, and with the renovation of its playground last year, it has become a unique and recognizable place for people to gather.
How is MPC utilizing digital tools to create a sense of community online and enhance the shopping experience?
At MPC Properties, we recognize the significance of digitalization in modernizing the shopping experience. Thus, we have introduced to the market a unique mobile app called “Tvoj Centar” that combines four of our shopping centers: Ušće, Beo, Mercator and Delta City.
The app enables shoppers to access information about our shopping centers, the products, and services on offer and gives them the opportunity to collect cross benefits. Additionally, this app provides relevant information on events and promotions, simplifying the planning of visits to the centers.
As part of our effort to enhance the shopping experience, we offer a range of incentives, including gifts, event tickets, as well as quality cultural content, and lifestyle advice to visitors. We continually work to improve these tools to provide even more benefits to our valued shoppers.
Embracing the Future of Shopping
Modern-day shopping involves more than just a transactional experience. Shopping is now embedded in an all-encompassing visit, including dining, on-site programs, learning opportunities, socializing, and personal care services. Today’s shoppers expect shopping centers to provide both entertainment and convenience while satisfying their desire for indulgence.
MPC strives to meet these expectations in collaboration with its tenants by creating shopping centers that are memorable, immersive, and aligned with modern lifestyle habits. With a wide range of food, beverage, brand, and content options, retail is becoming a trend in itself, and MPC takes pride in being a trendsetter.