A MEGA milestone moment for Centres

When our Ingka Centres team in Russia started evolving the MEGA Park concept, the idea was simple: build something that will make life better, both for the people visiting the shopping centre and for the local community. But when these concepts became a reality, it was clear that the MEGA Dybenko centre offered even more. Where else could you find music festivals, summer cinemas and skate parks – and all in one space?

MEGA Dybenko is an Ingka Centres-owned shopping centre and park located in the south eastern part of the city of St. Petersburg. Home to more than 180 stores, it’s also a prime example of how our shopping centres are becoming meeting places through our MEGA Park concept.

Natalia Petelina, Meeting Place Manager, MEGA Dybenko, provides some background: “St. Petersburg is the most northern big city in Russia, with a population of over 5 million. We wanted to explore how to make life better for those living here, so we asked ourselves the question: ‘What does this urban area really need?’. One obvious answer was more green spaces.”

On the back of this, the decision was made to use the land beside the shopping centre to create a multi-functional leisure space. So MEGA Dybenko now has 90,000 square metres of landscaped parkland that’s home to many different activities. Nothing like it has ever been done at any of our shopping centres around the world, so it represents a milestone moment for Ingka Centres.

Social success

The goal of the MEGA Park is not only to make the area around it more liveable, but also to increase the number of people visiting the shopping centre and its attached IKEA store.

Vyacheslav Stepakhin, Community Relations Manager, MEGA Dybenko, shares his insights: “Right now we have 80,000 people living adjacent to the park and shopping centre, and that number is predicted to rise to 160,000 by 2025. This is a local community that’s big and getting bigger, so we want to be good neighbours to them.

“We also recognise that not everything we do can appeal to every single person,” continues Vyacheslav, “So instead of trying to do that, we’ve created a variety of initiatives tailored to smaller groups. Now we have children’s play areas, a dog park, a skate park, running clubs and yoga classes. Many of these are organised by people in the community, or co-created with the tenants of the shopping centre, which is great to see.”

Through crowdsourcing initiatives and interactive stands where people voted on what they wanted from the park, those working on developing MEGA Dybenko were able to give the community a voice in its creation.

“People voted for many different options,” says Vyacheslav. “Some wanted skate parks, others wanted workout zones, but the two most popular choices were more music festivals and a summer cinema.”

Fortunately, this MEGA Park was able to deliver on both, last year hosting 77 festivals in total, and together with partners, screening movies in the park over the entire summer. The skate park proved to be very popular too, with people coming from all over the country to visit. It’s the first in Russia to include a bowl – like an empty swimming pool designed for skating – and it was built to match the features of skate parks in California.

More than 100,000 people visit the park at MEGA Dybenko each month, which has had a positive effect on visitation to the shopping centre and its IKEA store. Not only are the initiatives good for people, they’re good for our business. In terms of making life better for the many, Vyacheslav has observed that people take pride in everything around the park. “It’s a real community feeling,” he says, “and everyone plays a part in looking after it.”