Orchard Central to woo shoppers by integrating with other malls

Singapore’s prime shopping belt Orchard Road will see its first new mall in more than a decade in about two weeks.

The 12-storey Orchard Central is scheduled for a soft launch on July 2.

Developer Far East Organisation said tenants have taken up about 80 per cent of the space launched for leasing so far, a total of 213,000 square feet.

The Organisation said the new mall has already attracted the attention of curious shoppers.

“Orchard Road has been so established as a shopping street in Singapore,” said Susan Leng, Director of Retail Management at Far East Organisation. “This part of Orchard Central honestly has not been maximised in terms of its potential.

“With the new Somerset precinct… with established neighbours like Centrepoint, we’ll create a stronger magnet for both locals and tourists who want to visit Orchard Road.”

Orchard Central said it will work with neighbouring malls to collectively draw shoppers and capitalise on the physical connectivity between the buildings.

Rather than duplicate other malls in the area, Orchard Central said it aims to offer shoppers and tenants something unique to complement existing developments.

“We’re connected by underpass to Centrepoint. It’s got Robinson’s – a big department stall, and Marks and Spencers, and a supermarket. So we’re not competing,” said Leng. “I think this will reinforce our positioning that we are a new precinct.

“So, we actually add value rather than create more of the same. We don’t go for anchor tenants, we go for a unique clustering concept.”

This involves branding its 12 floors differently – for example, a focus on food on levels 7, 8, 11, and 12.

“We offer this clustering concept where we have a strong fashion accessory concept,” explained Leng. “We have an active and lifestyle cluster, food cluster at the veranda, at the rooftop.

“We will also be introducing a Mediterranean cluster at basement one. All these are various cluster concepts where retailers will say, ‘this is the cluster we want to be in’, and then they will sign up with us. Shoppers will also be able to reach out – ‘this is where I want to be’.”

Six super escalators, 46 escalators and 12 lifts will move shoppers between floors.

The bulk of the shopping centre is taken up by fashion, followed by restaurants.

Tenants that Channel NewsAsia spoke to said they welcome the concept.

“Orchard Central is an excellent property with the adjacencies coming,” said Nash Benjamin, Chief Executive Officer of FJ Benjamin. “The development with Lend Lease, and with the old Specialist Centre coming up… with Centrepoint across the road I think this is going to be a very interesting density of shopping here and it will attract people.”

Restaurant owner Wong Toon King is looking forward to his unique outlet, The Happy People, becoming a talking point for customers.

Said Wong: “We’ve actually surrounded Orchard Road with our various outlets. We’re looking for the right kind of place. When Orchard Central presented to us this unique concept of an urban loft perched on the eighth floor, we thought it’d fit perfectly our concept of Heaven’s Loft.

“We were very attracted by the height, this concept of desserts, and being high. We wanted to be perched high up Orchard Central. This was one of a kind concept and location for us.”

The bar of Wong’s restaurant, which opens in the evening, offers a birds-eye view of the rest of Orchard Road.

Shoppers at Orchard Central will also be able to appreciate some S$9 million worth of art that will adorn key areas of the mall.

Said Leng: “We want to bring artwork to the shoppers, to the people on the street. And installation artwork is something that’s not pretentious.”

There will also be a rock-wall for more adventurous visitors to climb, and a roof-top garden.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 19 Jun 2009

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