Straits Times: Fri, Mar 30
In the last two decades, the retail landscape has spread from the city to suburbs like Tampines and Serangoon and, more recently, Buona Vista and Katong.
Now, add Jurong to this expansion.
Jurong Gateway, a 70 ha area around the Jurong East MRT station, will usher in three new malls by the end of next year, adding about 2.1million sq ft of retail space to serve the roughly one million residents in the western part of the island.
The first to open will be the five-storey JCube on Monday. The 210,000 sq ft mall sits on the site formerly occupied by Jurong Entertainment Centre. It is owned by CapitaMall Trust, which also owns the nearby IMM Building.
True to its positioning as a lifestyle mall, JCube will house the only Olympic-sized ice-skating rink in town and the first Imax theatre in the suburbs.
CapitaMall Trust, along with CapitaMalls Asia and CapitaLand, also owns another shopping mall next to JCube. Called Westgate, the building is slated to open by Christmas next year.
TRANSFORMING THE AREA
When completed, these three malls in Jurong will offer about 600 stores in total, up from the current 250 at IMM Building.
Jem, another new kid on the Jurong Gateway block, is generating the most buzz, thanks to its high-profile anchor tenants. The six-storey mall, right across from JCube, will house Swedish high-street giant H&M, home-grown retailer Robinsons and Japanese casualwear brand Uniqlo, said its developer, the Australian company Lend Lease, on Tuesday.
Lend Lease, which also developed 313@Somerset, spent $1.4 billion on the new mall - its most expensive venture here yet. Its investment in 313@Somerset was reported to be around $1billion.
Sources told Urban that American leather goods maker Coach may also set up shop there.
When it opens in the second quarter of next year, the 580,000 sq ft Jem will be the third biggest suburban mall in Singapore, after Jurong Point and Nex in Serangoon Central.
The projects in Jurong Gateway are part of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's plans to transform the area into a regional commercial centre. It is more than 21/2times the size of Tampines Regional Centre, which was created in 1995.
'Jurong is now playing catch up to Tampines,' says MrNicholas Mak, the executive director of SLP International Property Consultants.
The other two future commercial areas which the URA has earmarked for development are Paya Lebar Central and Kallang Riverside.
CHANGING LIFESTYLE IN THE HEARTLANDS
Ms Lau Chuen Wei, the executive director of the Singapore Retailers Association, says the development of Jurong Gateway reflects the changing lifestyle in the heartlands.
'Luxury accommodation and business enterprises are not confined to the city areas anymore. The well-heeled are also to be found in the suburbs,' she says.
'It's not surprising that upmarket brands are expanding to parts of Singapore beyond the city. Their customers are everywhere.'
Ms Hannah MacDonald, the head of retail at real estate property consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle, says: 'The more affluent suburban profile of Jurong residents and the critical mass of people create a retail market that is attractive to international retailers such as Topshop, Uniqlo and Zara.'
While some might wonder why upmarket brands such as Coach would want to open in a neighbourhood estate, Mr Julian Barrans, the managing director of American branding consultancy Interbrand, thinks the move makes perfect sense.
'In the United States, people of all financial backgrounds are buying luxury items. This applies even more so in Asia, where buying power is on the rise,' he explains.
The upcoming burst of retail activity in Jurong Gateway is being closely monitored by Jurong Point, which is two MRT stops away in Jurong West Central 2. The mall has been expanded twice and now occupies 750,000 sq ft with 450 retailers. When it opened in 1995, it was the first mall in the Jurong West-Boon Lay area and occupied just 250,000 sq ft with about 100 retailers.
Today, it draws about four million visitors a month.
Mr Png Poh Soon, the director of valuation and the head of consultancy and research at Knight Frank, says the number is typical of large-scale malls. For instance, VivoCity, the biggest mall in Singapore, sees 4.2 million visitors a month, he says.
'For upcoming malls in Jurong Gateway, the challenge is to draw shoppers over,' he says, adding that one advantage the new malls have is their large sizes, which allow for a variety of retail options.
'Shoppers looking for a new experience will definitely be drawn over. The variety of entertainment options, such as the ice-skating rink, will also help to draw the young and the families,' he says.
Jurong Point is prepared for the stiffer competition.
A spokesman says: 'A temporary shift in shopper traffic and mall sales patterns will occur when the new malls open. But when the dust has settled, success depends very much on the appeal of a mall's offerings to its targeted customers.'
Jurong East resident Shikin Zainudin, 33, who counts VivoCity as her favourite shopping haunt due to its proximity and variety of retailers, is looking forward to the new malls.
The administration executive says: 'Finally, I can look forward to more shopping choices in my backyard.'
WHAT'S IN STORE AT JURONG GATEWAY
Net lettable area (area available for lease): 580,000 sqft, or about twice the size of 313@Somerset, which has a net lettable area of 289,106 sqft
Owned by: Lend Lease, which also owns 313@Somerset and manages Parkway Parade
Number of floors: Six
Occupancy rate: 80 per cent as of Tuesday Number of shops: 260
Opening: Second quarter of next year
What to check out:
Net lettable area: 210,000sq ft, about the size of Clementi Mall, which has about 190,000 sq ft of retail space
Owned by: CapitaMall Trust, which owns 17malls, including Raffles City and Plaza Singapura
Number of floors: Five
Occupancy rate: More than 90 per cent as of Feb 21
Number of shops: 120
What to check out:
A 20,000sqft store will open in VivoCity in June.
Net lettable area: 426,000 sq ft, about one-third smaller than Nex in Serangoon Central, which has about 600,000 sq ft of net lettable area
Owned by: CapitaMall Trust and CapitaLand
Number of floors: Seven
Occupancy rate: Not available
Number of shops: About 300
Opening: December next year
What to check out:
There will also be a gym on the fifth floor with a 50m-long outdoor pool.
Source: The Straits Times