News Article Bulgaria retail revitalisation SEE Sofia
by Property Forum | Retail

Kaufland continues to expand in Europe and revitalizations are playing an increasingly central role in this. The integration of existing retail locations and modernization has increased recently in comparison to the construction of new buildings. In the Bulgarian capital Sofia, a very special revitalization has now been completed.

The historic market hall in the centre of Sofia has been given a new lease of life as a modern shopping location. “As an international retail company, it was a great honour for us to acquire this unique property. We are aware of the responsibility involved and approached the planning with the appropriate respect,” says Michael Hiese, Head of Central Divisions International. “Preserving the unique character of this historic retail location was always a priority for us."

Kaufland has been represented in Bulgaria since 2006 and now operates over 65 stores there, 16 of which are located directly in Sofia. With this investment in the double-digit million range, the company is also demonstrating its commitment to Bulgaria, its customers and its employees.

The building in the heart of the capital was built in 1909 as the country's first covered market hall in the neo-Renaissance style with typical ornaments, round windows and a glass roof. It was also built on the remains of a Roman building from the fourth century. The dark green metal construction comes from the famous foundry of Gustave Eiffel. During a renovation period of around 11 months, it was possible to carefully combine the past with the present and future. Special conservation measures made it possible to preserve the skylights and the metal roof construction. The neoclassical façade has been carefully restored together with the best European restoration experts. Historians and archaeologists from the Sofia Regional Museum helped to preserve the Roman history of the site. In the basement, there are remains of a Roman fortress wall, which can be experienced through a free museum area. The original tower clock, which is over 110 years old, has been restored to working order and an interior fountain has been restored to the original plans for the building.

In addition to a colourful mix of shops with cosy cafés, varied restaurants, the largest children's bookstore in Bulgaria and many small specialist stores, visitors to the market hall can also look forward to a virtual reality zone, where VR glasses open up another digital level of the multi-layered building.

When designing the modern Kaufland store, particular attention was paid to the use of energy-saving and environmentally friendly technology. Thanks to the installation of a new ventilation system, the waste heat from the refrigeration units can also be used to heat the sales area as well as the offices and social rooms. In addition, energy-saving, closed refrigeration units and pleasant LED lighting reduce energy requirements. Kaufland presents itself in the style of a market hall with a wide range of fruit and vegetables and offers an extensive range of over 15,000 items.