Jurong’s retail space almost doubles with opening of new mall JEM

The supply of retail mall space in Jurong has almost doubled from the second quarter of last year with the opening of the new shopping mall JEM in June this year.

The retail mall space jumped by 573,600 square feet in June, to nearly 1.2 million square feet.

Including the IMM Building and JCube, retail mall space in Jurong had amounted to 613,000 square feet in terms of net lettable area at the second quarter 2012.

And it is expected to increase by another 35 per cent by the end of this year, with the opening of Capitaland’s new mall Westgate, which has a net lettable area of 416,000 square feet.

Analysts said asking rents for retail malls in Jurong is expected to remain relatively stable at around S$10 to S$15 per square foot.

Still, as the Jurong area becomes more saturated with shopping malls, experts said mall operators must tweak their tenant composition to stay ahead of the competition.

One such mall operator is the IMM Building, which was first opened to the public in 1991 and is one of the oldest malls in the Jurong district.

IMM is re-positioning itself from a mall that sells mostly furnishings, to one that also boasts the largest number of outlet stores in Singapore.

The mall has a home and furnishing section on Level 3 called “I’MM Home”, which houses more than 50 furniture and interior design stores that meet almost all home renovation needs.

CapitaMalls Asia, which acquired the mall in 2003, said “I’MM Home” will continue to be a key feature of IMM’s offerings.

IMM’s makeover comes hot on the heels of the latest addition to the Jurong Gateway area, JEM, which is developed by Lend Lease.

With the onslaught of new malls, competition for the consumer dollar will get tougher.

Alan Cheong, the senior director of research and consultancy at Savills, said: “What would sell are the traditional suburban malls, where the F&B component is about 30 per cent.  And over time, that composition could also rise to 40-45 per cent.

“The core of this Jurong East district is where you see the interchange, where it is now JEM, Westgate will probably be one of the key anchor malls.

“They’re positioned slightly differently. JEM is more mid-upper but Westgate is more on the mid to higher end.”

Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA’s) masterplan, the Jurong Lake district, which comprises Jurong Gateway and Lakeside, will be transformed into a unique lakeside destination for business and leisure.

Jurong Gateway is also set to be Singapore’s largest regional centre — 2.5 times the size of Tampines Regional Centre.

Other than Westgate’s debut before the end of the year, another retail mall, Big Box, with an area measuring 230,000 square feet, is also expected to open in 2014.

As the Jurong Lake district continues to mature, it is expected to attract more residential and commercial property developers over the next few years.

Experts said that means existing retail mall developers must revamp their tenant mix or move towards more mixed development projects.

Chua Yang Liang, the head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle, said: “In the past, the catchment income population was more working class at the time. Increasingly, you’ve seen a rise of mid- to high-income groups moving back to the Jurong area, so that is the population that is under-served.

“So for the other emerging groups, you have to start looking at where’s their niche, which sector is under-provided. With a growing population there, one thing you can look towards is really specialised services — towards the growing family with children, ageing population, childcare, daycare, nursery care, etc.”

With more malls and more stores, one thing is certain, the consumer is spoilt for choice.

Source – CNA – 5 Aug 2013

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