After two years of construction, the $1.3 billion NEX shopping mall in Serangoon, is slated to open by the end of this month.
One unique feature of NEX is the pitting of retailers against each other: Cold Storage versus FairPrice, Food Republic versus Food Junction.
While it may seem unusual for rival brands to co-exist under one roof, mall manager Guthrie Consultancy Services is confident that its retail space is ‘big enough to accommodate establishments in the same retail category’.
Nex is similar to sprawling suburban malls in the United States, Britain and Australia, where more than one anchor tenant and supermarket sit comfortably under one roof.
The seven-storey mall, located next to Serangoon interchange station, has over 600,000 sq ft of retail space. It is about the size of Ion Orchard and is the largest suburban mall in the north-east.
A spokesman for Nex said rival brands – such as Cold Storage and FairPrice – will appeal to different types of shoppers.
The Cold Storage supermarket will feature several exclusive imported products, while the 24-hour hypermarket FairPrice Xtra will offer products from food to home electronics and casual wear.
The mall will also have two foodcourts, Food Junction and Food Republic, ‘to offer more food varieties and choices for family shoppers’, its spokesman said.
Food Junction will run a 17,000sqft foodcourt that can seat about 500 people, while Food Republic’s 6,500sqft food atrium will seat about 250 people.
At present, the mall is almost fully occupied. Its anchor tenants are Japanese chain store Isetan, cinema chain Shaw, FairPrice Xtra and the Serangoon Public Library.
Other key tenants include bookstore Popular, Japanese food street Shokutsu 10, Courts, Crystal Jade Kitchen, Party World KTV and children’s boutique Kiddy Palace.
It hopes to draw about two million customers each month. To do so, it is introducing a number of new concepts.
Department store Isetan, which is opening its first outlet in 14 years, will have a section dedicated to handbags and fashion labels from Japan.
Its spokesman said the merchandise mix at its new three-storey outlet will be better than those offered by malls in the vicinity. For one thing, it will have more than 14 cosmetic brands not available in those malls, he said.
Guardian pharmacy will have its first private patient care counselling room for its clinical pharmacist to help patients better understand their medication and draw out treatment plans for those with long-term disease or weight issues.
Food-wise, there will also be new offerings: Japan’s popular burger chain Freshness Burger and famous pasta restaurant Kabe no Ana will open their debut outlets.
There is a retail and food zone that operates on extended hours till about 2am.
Dog owners can also make use of the 2,000sqft dog run located on the roof garden. The run is the first in a mall here, and is meant for dogs to exercise and play in an off-leash environment under the supervision of their owners.
The run can be accessed via designated lifts and escalators. Dogs, however, are not allowed in other areas of the mall.
To cater to families, there will also be a children’s playground with dry and wet interactive play equipment, and 11 nursing rooms for mothers – more than any other mall.
Update: Nex Serangoon is now open!