Public invited to submit ideas for redeveloped Funan DigitaLife Mall

Real estate company CapitaLand is calling for ideas for Funan DigitaLife Mall, which is set to close its doors for three years for redevelopment works from Jul 1.

About 388,000 sq ft will be added to the mall’s current Gross Floor Area of 482,000 sq ft when the redevelopment is completed, according to CapitaLand.

In a media release on Friday (Apr 15), CapitaLand said the public can submit their thoughts under three broad categories: Play, Create and Live, under an online campaign titled “#BeyondIT”. Submissions can be in the form of original images, videos, and/or text, CapitaLand said.

Selected entries could also be translated into large-scale graffiti that will feature on the hoarding of the new development, it added.

One regular shopper at Funan told Channel NewsAsia that he hopes the new mall will remain as an IT hub.

“A suggestion that I have is to have hands-on (guidance), so that when you buy the item, you can have confidence in using it. (There should also be) more staff to explain the specs of the product,” said Mr Shaikh Zaki.

The mall, which is known for retailing computers and other electronic gadgets, opened in 1985. CapitaLand announced in Dec 10 last year that Funan would be closed from the third quarter of 2016 and redeveloped into a “creative hub”.

“We wanted to involve the public in the redevelopment of this Singapore landmark; by inviting them to share with us their aspirations for the new integrated development and journey with us as the mall embarks on the future,” said president and group CEO of CapitaLand Limited Lim Ming Yan.

Submissions can be sent to a portal on the Straits Times.

SHOPS MOVING TO OTHER MALLS, EXPANDING ONLINE

When Channel NewsAsia visited Funan on Friday, stores at the mall were seen advertising moving out sales.

Funan centre manager Tan Pei Cheng said that some of the locations Funan’s tenants would be moving to included Raffles City and Plaza Singapura, while other tenants said they would be moving to Sim Lim Square.

IT retailer Challenger, whose 50,000 sq ft flagship store at the mall has been operating for 23 years, said it does not intend to open a new flagship store. Instead, it will rely on smaller stores around Singapore, including one at Raffles City.

While some retailers previously told Channel NewsAsia they were caught off guard when the announcement of the mall’s closure was made last December, Challenger’s chief marketing officer, Loo Pei Fen, said the shop had been prepared for it “all along”.

The retailer has been expanding its retail operations to over 50 stores all across Singapore, including the suburban areas.

“We’ve also recently launched Hachi.tech – a tech marketplace with tens of thousands of retail products for customers to shop online, pick up in-store or have a delivery,” Ms Loo said.

This move is in line with the changing trends in tech retail, with more people buying online instead of flocking to IT malls, said Dr Lee Nai Jia, head of research at DTZ.

Another store that is relocating is SLR Revolution, which has been selling cameras and related equipment for the last eight years at Funan.

SLR Revolution’s general manager, Jeremy Loh, said CapitaLand has helped facilitate the store’s move to Raffles City.

He added that he is not worried that the move will see the store losing its regular customers. “As of now, we do not have much of a concern, because we have been posting on all our websites, our Facebook page and we will be verbally informing our regular customers as they have been with us for years,” said Mr Loh.

Meanwhile, TK Foto Technic’s managing director, James Ng, said he believes in the shop’s reputation, business model, drawing power and rapport with the customers, despite the risks inherent in relocating.

He said: “Our customers will still go back to where we are, and the opportunity to go to a new mall will also open us up to newer customers. And that’s what we are looking for.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 15 Apr 2016

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