Urban development engines. Case study – Iași

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 15/12/2020 | 11:45

The first shopping malls in Romania were opening in the early 2000s, in Bucharest and Iași. This marked an innovative, vibrant and modern shopping concept that embellished the life of communities. The years have passed, Romania developed, and the mall became too small of a concept for a world with big dreams and development plans to match. That is how mixed-use projects came about, revitalizing obscure areas in big cities and promoting the live-work-play concept via the mix of office, retail and entertainment uses, a concept that is a hit to this day.


Iași is one of the most dynamic cities in terms of real-estate developments, providing the scene for spectacular investments over the last decade, investments that have transformed the city, making it one of the most appealing for major companies, and have showcased the extraordinary historical features.

Iași has a very straightforward evolution. Before the year 2000, the downtown area was dominated by the Palace of Culture, but its immediate surroundings were basically an abandoned area. Nowadays the Palace of Culture is embraced and showcased by Palas, a mixed-use urban regeneration project that includes the United Business Center business complex, the retail and entertainment component, with countless modern leisure solutions, as well as an impressive park that quickly became one of the attractions in the city.


In search of wellbeing

“Palas brought the concept of wellbeing, because the world has evolved to such an extent that people no longer settle in one city or another strictly based on the potential wages they may earn, but rather want the full package, looking at the quality of life they can have in a specific city and what it offers in terms of lifestyle. Palas does just this, providing a synergy of office spaces, retail area and entertainment, as well as a remarkable green feature,” said Raluca Munteanu, Business Development Manager IULIUS.

Raluca Munteanu, Business Development Manager IULIUS.

Over these years, Palas has attracted more than 50 companies via the United Business Center business district that is now comprised of 7 class A office buildings, which made the need to expand the business center apparent. That is how the Palas Campus came about, a mixed-use urban regeneration project adding up to 120 million Euro that IULIUS is currently building in the Sf. Andrei area, a central, yet underdeveloped area.

“We are not speculative developers and we do not lay a single brick if there is no clear demand in this respect. Palas Campus addresses an actual demand from the market and is a natural extension to the business center, because if have nothing to give to the companies who wish to grow locally, we run the risk of them choosing a different country. The Campus is an exciting project for us, as well as a major responsibility. This building will be integrated in the city infrastructure, embedded in the urban fabric and which we are confident will become a development engine just like Palas did,” added Raluca Munteanu.

The total 60,000 sqm of leasable premises to be comprised in the largest office building in Romania will lead to the organic expansion of the regional business center consolidated in the city center in the years since Palas Iași opened. The project will also include medical components, services area, a new food market concept, park and outdoor coworking spaces. These will service more than 5,000 new employees, as well as the residents in the area. Given that wellbeing also refers to accessibility and connectivity, with impact on saving time and on urban mobility, the project currently pending development also includes the creation of a new arterial road, widening nearby streets, pedestrian connections, bike lanes, parking spaces and a public transit station.

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