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Kotka Old Port

Recent market research shows great enthusiasm for the Kotka Old Port Designer Outlet Village

Media release.
Published: 06-Oct-2015 01:00 pm
Publisher: Kotka Old Port


Stimulating attractions put Finland´s first waterfront outlet village in pole position

According to recent market research, consumers in both Helsinki and St. Petersburg  are excited about the city of Kotka and the planned Old Port Outlet Village . Together with the lively city centre, the future premium brand outlet site on its waterfront and special attractions, puts Kotka in pole position when it comes to shopping destinations in Southern Finland.


“We conducted indepth market research with Taloustutkimus Oy, the leading research company in Finland. The results were impressive”, remarks Adrienne Jones, Head of Research at Milligan, development partner of the project.

Five focus groups were conducted in Helsinki amongst Kotka Old Port’s target shoppers. The research highlighted that there is a strong desire for an international style outlet centre in Finland, and Kotka is seen as ideal in terms of both location and experience. Kotka is considered to be far enough from full price stores in Helsinki to attract great brands and a contrast to the border regions which are seen as distant, with little there to interest them. Also, the architectural design by renowned AHR of the Kotka Old Port was well liked, with the centre being enclosed being particularly favoured. Most of the respondents have visited Kotka, with many commenting on its strong relationship with the sea and are aware of the existing reasons to visit.

“What makes Kotka Old Port special is the ideal location between Helsinki and St Petersburg, its waterfront position and its attractive nature”, Adrienne Jones remarks.
“What the brands are responding well to is the fact that it will be a leisure destination as well as an outlet”, says Luca de Ambrosis Ortigara, Founder and Managing Partner of DEA, in Milan. “This concept is still missing in Finland.”

A quantitative survey was also conducted in July with 2,000 St. Petersburg residents, of whom a fifth visited Finland to shop at least once a year. The survey amongst those visiting Finland highlighted that Kotka was already the fourth most visited town for shopping in Finland. 37% of those interviewed have visited Kotka.

Importantly 39% would be interested in visiting a new outlet centre in Kotka, rising to 47% amongst those who have visited outlet centres elsewhere.

The respondents also gave valuable feedback on target brands and leisure attractions to make Kotka a success.

In 2017, the first phase of Kotka Old Port will host 100 outlet stores with a lot of further attractions to come and  see. The  destination, when completed, will comprise 200 outlet stores, two hotels, restaurants, and a marina. It will also be a cruise destination. 20 hectares at the very heart of the city will be developed into an attractive place to stay and enjoy. There is a very experienced international group of professionals behind this project, including GVA Sawyer, Milligan, Byrne Murphy and Gerald Parkes.

In the summer of 2017, the International Tall Ships Race will sail in Kotka waters. Kotka will again host the annual Kotka Maritime week, one of biggest festivals in Finland. According to Kotka’s mayor Henry Lindelöf, it is also likely, that there will be a permanent changing exhibition of the Russian classical arts by the Museum of Russian Arts at the Kotka Old Port. Already in port, there in a landmark architecturally, the national maritime museum of Finland will be a hub of the events like also the popular Kotka Baltic Sea aquarium.

Kotka Old Port Exterior


 Kotka Old Port Interior


Kotka Old Port Brochure

Perfect match of international expertise

The project brings together key developers in the outlet industry, including John Milligan, Gerald Parkes, Cameron Sawyer and Byrne Murphy, with their vast experience in premium outlet projects in France, Italy, UK, Spain and Russia.
The Mayor and the whole city administration with all key political decision-makers effectively support the Kotka Old Port project. The city is collaborating with a highly experienced international outlet development team:

, development partner John Milligan CEO at Milligan, founded the specialist retail development company in 2002. At the heart of the Milligan philosophy is a passion and drive to create places where people are inspired to shop. Every place it creates is a one-off. Each project is conceived, designed and delivered by focusing on the needs and desires of the people who will visit, use and enjoy the space.

From 1983 to 2002, John was an International Director at Jones Lang LaSalle. He set up and led the company’s European retail group which consisted of over 250 people advising clients on 2.5 million square metres of shopping centre space. He was also chairman of the JLL global retail group. John worked for 10 years alongside McArthurGlen to introduce American style outlet centres into Europe as well as helping to bring Costco and Starbucks to the UK.


GVA Sawyer
, the lead developer of the Kotka Old Port project, Russia GVA Sawyer, founded in 1993, a member of GVA Worldwide. GVA Sawyer is the developer of the first outlet mall in Russia, Fashion House Moscow, and has nearly 20 years of experience developing various projects in Moscow, St Petersburg and the Russian regions. These include high-profile projects such as the former headquarters of the United Nations in Russia in Moscow. Two GVA Sawyer projects have been the subject of Harvard Business School cases.


Kitebrook Partners
, property development and investment expert, US Byrne Murphy, Kitebrook’s founding partner, brought outlet shopping to Europe more than 20 years ago. He is the author of the book “Le Deal” which tells the story of his adventures building the first outlet mall in Europe and bringing McArthurGlen outlet centres to the European market. Murphy’s former company McArthurGlen is the dominant outlet mall operator in Europe with 20 designer outlets in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.


DEA Real Estate Advisor
, Italy DEA is an independent Company leader in the real estate field that offers services of strategic advisory, retail investment and intermediation, especially focused on luxury. The Company has an internationally experienced team of professionals that work proficiently both in Italy and abroad. DEA’s main clients are leading developers and high end/premium brands (both Italian and international). The team is committed in some important projects of retail development in foreign countries such as Finland, Italy, Spain, the UAE and China. The total GLA of the projects DEA is currently involved reaches approx. 400.000 sq/m. 16 July 2015
Luca de Ambrosis Ortigara, Founder and Managing Partner at DEA, sits in the Value Retail management board as European Executive Director. Luca was previously MD at McArthurGlen Italia and European Head of Leasing at McArthurGlen, Head of the Italian Retail Department at Cushman & Wakefield and Director of the Real Estate Services at Pirelli Real Estate.

PCPE Property Capital Partners Europe
, real estate investment manager and financier, UK Gerald Parkes, one of Europe’s most prominent real estate investment managers and financiers. He was Head of European Real Estate Private Equity at Lehman Brothers and prior to that he was the CEO of Invesco’s European Real Estate Group. Parkes has advised on multiple billions of retail real estate development and investment. He was the initiator of the Bluewater Shopping Centre in the UK and head of retail planning.


architectural practices, UK AHR is one of Europe’s largest practices in outlet village architecture and has evolved into an international business encompassing 450 staff in 12 offices. Good design is driven by their collective passion to explore the art of what is possible, irrespective of a project’s size or complexity. AHR has significant expertise in designing multi-layered retail environments which provide social, commercial and recreational opportunities for a mix of user groups and communities.


DTZ Finland Oy
, Finland DTZ debuted as a top three global commercial real estate services company. The Group has more than 28,000 employees operating across more than 260 offices in 50 countries and $63 billion in transaction volume. DTZ provides property management for 171 million square meters, and facilities management for 124 million square meters.


The Kotka Old Port

For further information please contact

Matti Saarinen, Kreab Helsinki
matti.saarinen@kreab.com tel: +358 40 50 50 667

Jan Erola, Kreab Helsinki
jan.erola@kreab.com tel: +358 40 506 46 12

Samantha Robinson, Milligan
Samantha@milliganretail.com tel: +44 207 297 43 00

Cameron Sawyer, GVA Sawyer
CSawyer@gvasawyer.com tel: +7 903 723 4816

An earlier press release on Kotka old Port:


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