Vienna- and Warsaw-listed Immofinanz has unveiled plans to add affordable and sustainable housing to its business, with a strategy to build residential accommodation on top of its retail park portfolio.
In a campaign dubbed 'Top on Shop', single-storey Stop Shop retail parks will be overbuilt to create low-price, housing, building up to 12,000 new apartments over the medium-term.
Dietmar Reindl, chief operating officer of Immofinanz, said: 'In view of the scarcity and increasing cost of inner-city land and the current housing shortage, we have a massive resource with Europe’s largest network of retail parks.
'With Top on Stop, we now want to make the best use of this opportunity and, as an experienced real estate developer, offer affordable and sustainable housing and support the responsible use of valuable land resources.
'In this way, we are meeting three of the greatest challenges of our time: We are advancing densification and fighting ground sealing. We are creating high-quality housing for people with lower and middle incomes. And we are building climate-neutral housing with our planned wood construction and ecological energy concepts.'
Immofinanz currently numbers around 100 Stop Shops in ten European countries, with plans to increase to 140 properties in the next few years.
Added Stefan Schönauer, chief financial officer of Immofinanz: 'Over the medium term, we plan to overbuild roughly 50% of our current and future Stop Shop locations with affordable rental apartments. That would represent up to 600,000 m2 of residential space or nearly 12,000 smart and sustainable apartments.
'We are starting with pilot projects in Austria and the neighbouring countries and – as with our other real estate products – a high degree of standardisation will then allow for rapid roll-out. Another benefit involves the lower investment costs since we are building on existing properties. This will also generate an attractive residential return for our shareholders in this segment.'