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‘We need to create exciting destinations for families’

Grant Sonju, International Business Development Director, PLAYTIME

European shopping centres are waking up to the advantages of having dedicated play areas and family destinations, Grant Sonju, International Business Development Director, PLAYTIME, told Real Estate Day. 

‘The US has seen a lot of new investment recently in improving play areas in shopping centres and the idea is finally resonating with developers in Europe as well’, he said. ‘In the past shopping centres have been a little bit passive, waiting for the footfall to increase by bringing in new retail offerings, but what we’re seeing now is that the malls recognize that they need to create quality destinations that families are going to want to come back to again and again’.

This new awareness of the need to create exciting destinations for families has led to a ‘considerable increase in investment from shopping centres in our play areas, a real doubling down in the last year,’ Sonju said.

Investment is finally taking off  in Europe as well, he said: ‘There has been a lot of talk in the last three years, it has taken time for the idea to resonate with developers but customers are beginning to understand what the offering is and the shopping centres realise what value it brings to them.’

It has taken time, but things are moving much faster now, Sonju said: ‘We have just installed a nice project in a shopping centre in Belgium. We are getting a lot of interest and projects are now on a much more short-term timeline’.

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