June 26th, 2012

More fun and games at the Hungary’s “mall ban” exemption committee


Over the weekend it was reported that the Economy Ministry has granted more exemptions to the ban on retail buildings larger than 300 square meters, which was put in place amid much cheering and scorn last November, and is set to run until the end of 2014.

The reports revealed that the ministry has completed reviews on 82 applications for exemptions, of which it has granted 28, while rejecting an undefined number that included plans for a (presumably super-sized) Metro, as well as several Penny Market outlets. No surprise here, as these two foreign-owned retailers are exactly the sort of low-cost consumer-friendly retailers the current government and its supporters at the low end of the retail food chain are determined to hobble.

What is weird is that apparently they have given the green light to the 37,000 square meter MUNDO shopping centre that Poland’s Echo Investment wants to build in Budapest’s District XIV (above right). Which is a bit strange, because not only is MUNDO more than 10 times the statutory size limit of the “plaza stop” legislation, but, given the current state of the mall economy, a project we can’t imagine anyone would want to build anyway. [portfolio.hu/napi.hu]


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