Revamped Capitol Theatre aiming to bring new brands to market

The old Capitol Theatre has just reopened, after a billion-dollar facelift. Along with a retail mall, the development will also include residences and a hotel. Owners of Capitol said they are adopting a strategy of bringing in new-to-market brands, as tenants, to complement its theatre and lifestyle offerings.

Japanese apparel retailer, 45r, is among the new names open for business at Capitol Piazza, the retail section of Capitol. Capitol’s strategy is to source new-to-market brands and concepts, or retailers which did not previously have a presence in Singapore.

The landlord said that aside from wanting to stand out from the retail scene, working with new-to-market brands also gives it flexibility in managing its floor space.

“Some of these luxurious brands – Louis Vuitton, Gucci – they need very big space,” said Capitol’s general manager Dawn Tan. Capitol has a “very intimate size” of 130,000 square feet, she said.

“If we go for these very high-end brands, then we would only end up with maybe only a few brands within the mall. This is not what we want. So we thought there is a market out there also for these new concepts to come in and that’s why we actually focused on these new to market concepts to be in Singapore.”

Capitol plans to explore synergies between the theatre and its retail arm, using old world charm and new offerings to engage consumers and attract tenants.

“Capitol mall is pretty unique,” said Masaki Nakashim, chief operating officer of 45r. “The theatre has a lot of history. They keep all the old buildings and make new ones. This is the same as our concept. So that’s why we decided to come here.”

“The theatre is a very important marketing tool for us because it allows us to continue to bring in different kinds of patrons,” added Ms Tan. “We can actually have musicals, forums like the arbitration forum, and also parties like the post-F1 party.

“The patron profile is constantly changing and it allows Capitol to be known and marketed to different people, and it brings a constant source, a new source of customers to capitol and to the brands.”

Property analyst Chestertons said the renovated Capitol could inject new life into the Civic District, especially the stretch leading up to the Funan Mall .

“With Capitol, the Piazza, the Theatre and the two components, Patina and residential coming up, it helps to revitalize that entire area on the North Bridge Road side, towards to Funan,” said managing director of Chestertons Donald Han.

“Hopefully it could be a spur for some of the individual owners, although the majority are strata-type owners, to refurbish the area. Because that’s an important node of retail, being connected directly to the City Hall MRT station.

“If you look at the current market, it does help to serve City Hall as a more premier retail, leisure, F&B destination because what the entire area offers will be Raffles City, Marina shopping centre destination, you’ve got now a little bit more upscale, uniqueness offered by Capitol.”

Capitol has obtained more than 80 per cent of leasing commitments to date – 65 per cent of which are new-to-market brands – with the remaining tenant renovations expected to be completed by September this year.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 16 Jul 2015

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