Helmut Koprian: 16,000 m² of Retail Space Revitalises Inner-City

Offenbach has in recent years not only developed into a magnet for large ­national and international corporations, but has advanced visually to also become a gem on the banks of the Main River thanks to its modern ­architecture. The quality of life and atmosphere of the city centre has changed for the better, a process that KOMM welcomes and promotes as the inner-city shopping centre of a new generation.

Offenbach is the fifth largest city in Hessen and one of the state’s ten regional centres. Located in the Rhine-Main region and situated along the section of the Main River known as Mainbogen, Offenbach borders on neighbour cities Frankfurt am Main, Maintal, Mühlheim am Main, Obertshausen, Heusenstamm and Neu-Isenburg. The independent city of Offenbach together with Frankfurt forms a contiguous settlement area.

The former industrial city, which was primarily known as a centre of the leather industry, has experienced a transfor­­mation and is today considered not only as a university location with a high degree of clustering in the field of design, but is also an important service centre.

Furthermore, and above all, Offenbach enjoys popularity as a shopping city because of the dominating presence of retail here and its high-quality range of goods. As a city of short distances, where everything is reachable on foot, Offenbach has created a relaxed shopping environment for its visitors.

Thanks to its central location in the metropolitan Rhine-Main region, its varied cultural life and its excellent shopping and recreation facilities, Offenbach possesses a high attrac­­tiveness and annually draws several hundred thousand tourists. Among the most popular attractions are the Ger­­man Leather Museum, Isenburg Castle (in Offenbach) – home of the School of Design, the Büsing-Palais, and the Lilientempel.

Large retail chains are represented in the city as are small owner-operated shops, a factor which defines every city’s individuality. In Offenbach, a success story is being written: the players in the inner city and the retail trade, such as the local trade association Treffpunkt Offenbach e.V. and the inner city initiative KARREE (BID), along with the City of Offenbach/City Management and the Chamber of Commerce, have been working closely to­­gether to further increase the attractiveness of the inner city. The BID-Project in Offenbach has existed since 2011. BID stands for “business improvement district”. Of­­fen­­bach was the first larger city in Hessen with a BID square (Karree). In 2012, Karree Offenbach was named the best BID in Germany. The in­­creased number of pedestrians is a noticeable factor in­­volved in this achievement. These numbers have risen sharp­­ly in the past years, due to a considerable extent by the KOMM.

What’s more, due to the very good accessibility of the inner city, visitors are induced to combine their shopping ex­­perience with visits to restaurants, for example those on the Wilhelmsplatz. One of the most beautiful weekly markets in Hessen is also held there three times a week; the market also attracts many customers and visitors from the district of Offenbach and from the region.

Some name the program “active inner city ​​“ as being the reason, others the opening of KOMM. Fact is that from 2008 to 2013 an increase in the number of pedestrians totalled 22.6 percent as recorded in eleven counting locations. Under the direction of Professor Robert Pütz, the Geography Institute at the Goethe University Frankfurt surveyed nearly 650 pedestrians – with somewhat unexpected results. In short, visitor numbers are rising, length of stay is increasing, more customers from the region come to Offenbach and the City is better rated as a place to shop. “We can only motivate the business people”, says Mayor Horst Schneider.
KOMM Offenbach, due to its outstanding location, is among the most frequented locations in Offenbach. Frank­­furter Strasse, the street known as the main artery of the shopping town Offenbach, is in the immediate proximity of the centre. The street Große Marktstraße, which adjoins the centre, attracts with its wealth of dining establishments. Not far away from the pedestrian zone, in which KOMM is embedded, there are also the cultural square and many parks, libraries, museums and points of interest for tourists and visitors.

As a building, KOMM is structurally organised through its internal functions – on the one hand by the retail trade areas, and secondly by the complementary service and practice facilities on the upper floors. These usages are arranged distinctly separate from one another in their purpose as well as in the design and they have their own addresses.

Coming from a westerly direction, the building line in Große Marktstraße is taken up by the existing building devel­­opment, and, parallel to the buildings on the op­­po­­site side, it continues on up to the existing Seestraße car park.

In order to be perceived as a significant building and to act as a cornerstone of the urban setting, the building has developed over two trading floors, a parking level and two “floating” floors above. This jewel constitutes a sig­­nificant mark in the urban context as the termination point of Aliceplatz along the axis of townhall-Marktstraße centre.

The structure in the façade breaks up the building form and at the same time gives it an architectural conciseness in the cityscape so as to carry out an important role in the concentric flow of the pedestrian zone. Vertical shop windows with small cantilevered display cases on the 1st floor provide a playful façade, which at the same time appears to provide order.

KOMM’s leaseable area totals approximately 16,000 square metres. On three levels, KOMM Offenbach offers its cus­­tomers more than 50 shops and restaurants under one roof. A balanced mix of retail segments is the ensured along the 500-metre-long shopping promenade. Drawcard establishments such as H & M, Drogerie Müller, Thalia, Sport Palast and Deichmann ensure high customer fre­­quency and customer loyalty in KOMM Offenbach. The tegut supermarket supplements this range by satisfying short-term needs. Starbucks and other tenants from the food and beverage sector increase the quality of stay.

KOPRIAN iQ Management GmbH has been commissioned by the owner to handle the management and leasing of KOMM Offenbach since October 2012.

In the fourth edition of the Shopping Center Per­­for­­mance Report (2014) it was shown that some centres have signif­­icantly improved their position over the years. The Im­­mobilien Zeitung writes on the subject on 25.09.2014: “The Movers & Shakers: KOMM Offenbach and Centrum­­-Galerie Dresden … What’s striking is the positive devel­­op­­ment of Komm in Offenbach which opened in 2009 (2.91).”

As of spring 2015, KOMM will undergo a multi-million euro optimisation. ATP architects and engineers, Offenbach, has been commissioned to carry out the architectural and structural realisation of a new functional concept (functional concept idea: KOPRIAN iQ). Substantial el­­ements of the proposed optimisation include:

– Creating a further atrium in the area of Marktstraße which will improve the view connecting between
ground and upper floors.
– Installation of an additional pair of escalators in the
new atrium, intended for the better development of
the upper level.
– Optimisation of the entire lighting system.
– Optimising the mall furnishing and greenery.
– Creating a large fountain in the basement.
– Improving the quality of stay.
– Optimisation of the sector and tenant mix.

The optimisation of the functionality of the mall is intended to increase the traffic flow in the ground and first floors. The sector and tenant mix of the property is to be enhanced along with the functional and architectural improvements.

The author has over 40 years of experience in the retail business and centre management. He is the CEO of KOPRIAN iQ management and is responsible for the management and leasing of KOMM Offenbach.