Monuments, gyms turned into shops. A new direction for trade

Monuments, gyms turned into shops.  A new direction for trade
photo: Grzegorz Lyko / / ArtService

Discount chains and supermarkets open their outlets in historic buildings, new residential buildings or former gyms. This is a result of the difficulties faced by the industry in acquiring new lands. In order not to be left out of the customer competition, stores should pay attention to innovations in this area.

The problems of the construction industry affect the activities of other sectors, including the trade sector, which is represented by discounts and large-format stores. Therefore, in order to maintain the dynamics of development, chains should change their existing strategies and focus on opening branches in non-standard locations. This means making concessions.

Strengthens creativity

– Poland is a mature market today. Gone are the days when it was easy for industry to acquire new investment lands. Only retailers do not strive for their own sweets. The situation in the whole market requires the search for new, non-standard solutions, explains Ryszard Wysokinski, head of Investor Relations / Strategic Expansion at Kaufland Polska, in an interview with

In response to questions from, representatives of the retail industry almost unanimously said that the difficulties associated with rising prices for construction materials and the lack of employees among the companies making new investments also affect them. Although these problems were known before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they are now even more acute.

However, these are not the only factors influencing the need for changes in the industry’s approach to opening new branches. In an interview with, Aldi Polska real estate and expansion director Tomasz Gawlik, admitted that housing builders are competing for stores.

– As the availability of real estate decreases, competition increases. We are talking not only about competitors in the discount industry, but also about all institutions interested in investing in real estate. Where areas are not covered by local zoning plans, we compete with, among others, housing developers who make the most of their property development opportunities in investment plans and thus the return on future investment, Gawlik adds.

Wysokiński assesses this problem similarly for the network. According to the expert, the builder can turn the area used for the construction of the store with a parking lot into a residential building up to several floors. This creates new opportunities for collaboration between developers and sales representatives.

– Cooperation in this area is possible and benefits both the parties and the residents themselves. Potential tenants want to shop near their homes, Wysokiński concludes

Where will we shop in the future?

The development of the common field of work is already in sight. An example of this is the investment of the Kaufland network in a new residential building in Białystok. The large-format store covers the entire first floor of the block, which means that its residents will be able to shop even wearing shoes.

A similar strategy has been adopted by networks whose stores are classified as discounts. As for the Aldi chain, a new approach to investment was the opening of the facility at the former equestrian school in Torun. Lidl opened a store in a former locomotive depot in Warsaw’s Prague district, Biedronka used a historic building in Krakow’s market square, and the Netto network used the remains of a former cinema or gym.

In each case of this type, the stores must meet not only the invention, but also, among others, the requirements of the conservatory of monuments or the housing community that manages the building. This, in turn, is due to the need to adapt the appearance of the store to the environment, preserve its character or make additional concessions so as not to disturb the lives of residents.

The comfort of the residents is in the hands and arms of local governments

The attractiveness of the property is beneficial for developers, as it increases interest and prices for real estate. The service facilities at the disposal of every resident can undoubtedly be one of the factors contributing to this attractiveness. In this area, both industries meet and cooperate. However, as Ryszard Wysokinski points out, local governments are also interested in these relationships because they are interested in spatial development plans.

– The wider the access to schools, parking lots or service facilities, including grocery stores, the more attractive the property will be for residents. The concept, which envisages the availability of most service points within 15 minutes of residence, can significantly reduce traffic throughout the city, Wysokinski concludes.


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