“Fifty buildings are now empty in this city,” says Brockmann. “But there is certainly an interest in filling the buildings. Adjusting rents, more marketing of the city to draw attention to Utrecht, these are all things there is still a lot of work to do. The dead horse, but this is not true of Utrecht.”
Maria Gandjabor also thinks Utrecht is a “great city”, but she recently closed her own bag shop in the center. “We saw a drop in visitors and business turnover, while rents continued to rise. Yes, then the balance was lost,” he added.
According to her, many real estate in large cities is owned by pension funds and other major lenders. “They often refuse to adjust rents, which makes it increasingly difficult for retailers to create a profitable store. They will have to change that.”
Gendjapour says real retailers are on the way to disappearing and that direct-to-consumer brands like Zara, H&M and Rituals dominate Main Street: “Brands have cut off one link, the retailer, giving them margins to pay higher rents.”
Wirt vacancy is declining
In Weert they see the vacancy rate dropping slightly: from 21 to 19 percent. “I’m not thrilled with these numbers, but I’m proud that we were able to bring them down,” says center director Paul Quig.
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