The paper focuses on the commercial gentrification process and its impact on local businesses and neighborhoods in Sofia during the past 30 years. The research goes beyond the architectural representation of the mall and the hypermarket as a large scale development projects and grounds on qualitative approaches and spatial-temporal analysis focused on socio-cultural outcomes and impacts resulted by the competing functions and distribution and concentration of retail agents. Outlined and discussed are the trends at different time periods ranging from the benefits for the culturally sensitive visitors who enjoy the new consumption experience in the mall to the local/city disparities, to closing of local business and changing the identity of traditional shopping streets, open markets and wholesale markets.
The commercial centers are analyzed in retrospective in terms of location, potential to generate congestions, access to public transport, property ownership and previous functions, availability of land and buildings, length of operation, type of shops, level of multinationalism, target market segments and affordability of services/goods and right to access.
By summarizing the drivers and challenges of retail gentrification, the research findings suggest different sets of measures that might overcome or mitigate the impact of retail restructuring as part of integrated urban regeneration.