Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FAR East Organization will spend $26 million updating the 16-year old Ginza Plaza shopping mall.

FAR East Organization will spend $26 million updating the 16-year old Ginza Plaza shopping mall.

The mall, which will be renamed West Coast Plaza, is expected to be ready for business in the third quarter of 2008.

Vivienne Tan, president of Far East Retail Consultancy, said changing demographics in the West were a key factor in the decision to refurbish the mall.

‘As its original name suggests, Ginza Plaza used to cater to the Japanese expatriate community that lived in the area,’ Mrs Tan said.

‘But now we’re seeing a good number of other nationalities moving in. There is also a growing private residential population,’ she said.

Danny Yeo, director of retail at Knight Frank, which is marketing the mall, said rents at West Coast Plaza will range from $8 to $25 per sq ft per month (psf pm). Before Ginza Plaza was vacated, average rentals were $5-$6 psf pm, Mrs Tan said.

Billed as ‘An Oasis in the West’, West Coast Plaza, which has a net lettable area of 160,000 sq ft, hopes to capture the ‘breezy, easy-going spirit of the West Coast’. The mall has been redesigned by DP Architects.

Far East hopes to attract residents living in the West, who are generally thought to have higher disposable incomes than residents in other parts of Singapore.

A study by Knight Frank showed the West has a higher proportion of private housing (about 30 per cent) than the island-wide residential mix (about 18 per cent). Also, nine or more new private residential developments within 2km of West Coast Plaza are expected to be completed around the same time as the mall, Far East said.

Increased demand for private property and the presence of a more varied expatriate community are thought to be due to a growing number of professionals working in the area, in places such as science hub one-north.

Far East also hopes to attract students from more than 27 educational institutions within 3km of the mall, including students from the National University of Singapore.

Source : Business Times - 20 Nov 2007

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