Suburban malls across Singapore are getting multimillion-dollar facelifts in a bid to improve their bottom lines. They hope to attract more visitors in a competitive retail environment and collect higher rents from their tenants.
Data compiled by BT shows that at least 14 suburban malls have either undergone renovation and repositioning exercises over the past year, are doing so now or plan to do so in the future.
Work on these malls is estimated to cost their various owners close to $500 million in all.
Market watchers said that with Singapore’s main shopping belt Orchard Road all set to get three new malls in a few years’ time, suburban malls have to try to differentiate themselves and become attractive alternatives to heading into town.
Experts also said that upgrading works are necessary before increasing rents at these malls, as they are away from Singapore’s key shopping belts.
‘Suburban malls will continue to play a key role in the local retail scene as they will continue to remain distinct from the downtown malls in the Orchard Road and Marina Bay areas,’ said Stephanie Ho, assistant general manager of AsiaMalls Management, which manages five malls in Singapore.
For example, AsiaMalls’ Pasir Ris mall, White Sands shopping centre, recently underwent a $25 million rebranding and expansion exercise, and is now positioning itself as an ‘active lifestyle’ mall.
AsiaMalls hopes that White Sands will cater to holiday-makers staying at chalets and families frequenting entertainment attractions in Pasir Ris and the East Coast areas - in addition to Pasir Ris residents.
Elsewhere, AsiaMalls’ Hougang Mall is also now touted as ‘a mall for the whole family’ after a $13.5 million revamp.
The company is also in the process of improving Tiong Bahru Plaza and Century Square.
Other mall operators with suburban malls in their portfolio are going down the same route. Frasers Centrepoint Trust (FCT) will reopen Anchorpoint as a ‘village mall’ once its $12 million repositioning exercise is completed by end-November.
‘It (Anchorpoint) was a little bit dated and its positioning was wrong,’ Christopher Tang, chief executive of FCT’s manager, said recently. ‘We decided to reposition it in May.’
In addition to enhanced food & beverage offerings, Anchorpoint will also offer factory outlets, he said.
Next up is Northpoint, which will undergo a $30 million asset enhancement exercise starting from the first quarter of 2008.
FCT also has similar plans for Causeway Point in Woodlands further down the road, said Mr Tang.
FCT’s parent company, Frasers Centrepoint, also hopes to start work on one of the malls in its portfolio - Valley Point - by the end of 2008. Rival trust CapitaMall Trust is not to be outdone; the trust will spend some $338 million in all for asset enhancement works at five of its malls - Lot 1 Shoppers’ Mall, IMM Building, Tampines Mall, Sembawang Shopping Centre and Jurong Entertainment Centre.
Elsewhere, Jurong Point is adding a new extension which will be ready in about a year’s time.Managers of malls where revamp works have been completed report increased foot traffic and better rents.
At White Sands, average monthly footfall increased by 33 per cent post-revamp to 800,000, while at Hougang Mall, monthly shopper traffic has increased from an average of 870,000 in 2005 to 1.2 million in 2007, AsiaMalls.
And with Anchorpoint’s repositioning exercise, rental rates have gone up about 40 per cent, said FCT’s Mr Tang.
Source : Business Times - 10 Nov 2007