NETHERLANDS – Retail investment company Rodamco Europe is planning to double its properties in Central Europe, it said.

In order to reach its goal, it will be looking at expansion in its existing markets – the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Austria and Germany - as well an in new countries, board chairman Maarten Hulshoff told Dutch press agency ANP.

“The real estate in the Central European countries is 12% of Rodamco’s portfolio at present, but it will rise to at least 15% in the short term. Of the €2.4bn of planned projects, two-fifths have been allocated to Central Europe,” Hulshoff added.

Rodamco is closest to its goal in the Czech Republic, where it already owns two large shopping centres – 110,000 square meters in total – near Prague.

“Given all plans, the number of square meters will double within the next three years,” Martin Machac said. According to the Rodamco director in the Czech Republic, the development of shopping malls in Prague has just started. “The shopping surface is still much less than in the capitals of surrounding countries.”

Besides building a third shopping centre in Prague, Rodamco has invested €160m in a new centre in Warsaw.

Slovakia has the most potential to Rodamco at the moment, Machac indicated. “It has the best investment climate, and fits geographically seamless within our operating area”. According to Machac, Rodamco is also looking at investment opportunities in Romania and Bulgaria.

The accent of Rodamco’s activities will probably shift further to the east, because of the available space and demand, chairman Hulshoff indicated. “Investment in Germany is still not attractive”.

Elsewhere, Achmea Real Estate has become the new owner of a shopping centre Holtenbroek in Zwolle.

The new 6,000 square metre centre was sold for an undisclosed sum by AM Grondbedrijf. The intermediary was real estate manager WPM Group, Achmea said.