Saturday, April 20, 2013

Jem® brings big names to Jurong hub

The Business Times  |  16 April 20, 2013
Jurong Gateway mall fully leased ahead of Q2 opening

Upcoming suburban mall Jem® achieved 100 per cent leased status on April 4, with all 241 shops in the 76,000 square metres mixed-use development being leased ahead of its opening in Q2 2013.

The Lend Lease mall's line-up boasts international giants such as H&M, Victoria's Secret, and the first new Books Kinokuniya outlet in 14 years.

While Jem® development director Chris Brown deemed this achievement "reasonably uncommon", he was not surprised it happened.

"We always knew it was going to be successful because the demand is there," he said, given Jem®'s unique positioning among suburban malls.

In line with the government's intent to create a new CBD (central business district) in the west, Jem® is set to be its heart, bringing an Orchard Road experience to the Jurong Gateway regional centre and tying it with community culture.

"We see that there is the opportunity to serve them better and to create a more communal heart by providing them something they don't already have," Mr Brown said about the suburban community that Jem® would cater to, being connected to the Jurong East MRT station.

Hence, their leasing strategy concentrated mainly on securing big-name brands as anchor tenants, such as Robinsons and H&M, many of which will be setting up their first suburban outlets in Singapore.

They also targeted new-to-market brands such as Paris Baguette, a Korean chain with one outlet here at Wisma Atria.

"You've got a higher chance of success in an area that's got a higher demand," Mr Brown said, emphasising the underserved nature of what he called a "captive market".

"There are numerous brands that just aren't facilitated anywhere near here," he added.

Mr Brown insisted that the rents offered to tenants were competitive in the market and were not discounted in any way.

This made Jem®'s intrinsic qualities the key to attracting retailers; Mr Brown listed the mall's design, function and connectivity as plus points, in addition to the lack of immediate competition for such brands in the area.

As a mixed-use development of about 70 per cent retail and 30 per cent office, Jem® seeks to cater to a wide demographic.

Its offerings range from hypermarkets like Fairprice Xtra to F&B and entertainment facilities, along with mid to mid-plus shopping. According to Mr Brown, it intends to "serve the same person at different times of day".

Jem®'s inherent appeal, though, did not necessarily guarantee the success it has experienced. Rather, it depended on the attitudes of the retailers approached.

"It shows the confidence of the retailer," Mr Brown said about the 100 per cent lease, explaining that the mall's positioning made it a new frontier. "Some people are more game than others."

Kinokuniya's decision to open a new outlet at Jem® is certainly a strong example of this.
According to Hiroshi Sogo, group managing director of Books Kinokuniya Pacific Asia, the opening "serves to highlight our sustainable growth strategy as we commemorate our 30th anniversary in Singapore this year. With Jem®'s prime location at Jurong Gateway and its strong retail mix, we believe our store at Jem® will enable us to serve more book and magazine lovers for many years to come."

"We were confident that what we were creating was different, and they saw that as well, so we were more than happy for them to come along with us," said Mr Brown.

Mr Brown also cited the government's support as a reason for the success of the venture. For instance, the Ministry of National Development's 30-year lease in 2011 marked the first time a government agency committed to a long-term lease with a private developer in its development project.

He noted that Jem® dovetails with the government's desire to have people work closer to home and maintain work-life balance, due to its office facilities and outdoor park space.

"We think it's going to provide far more flexibility and opportunity for people who don't have that in their immediate area," he said.

In order to convince retailers of the development's appeal, the Jem® team conducted numerous studies to determine target markets and retailers.

These included formal research through research providers, as well as the more unique method of using social media.

"With a strong immediate catchment, we were able to formulate an opinion of what the consumer wanted and then take it from there," Mr Brown said.

He expects that, in the long-term, social media will continue to figure prominently in Jem®'s overall processes.

With Jem®'s 100 per cent lease, Mr Brown is glad that customers will be greeted with a complete retail offering when the mall opens its doors in Q2 2013.

"With our unique offerings across fashion, F&B, beauty and entertainment, Jem® is poised to be the new crown jewel of the west and a one stop lifestyle hub that engages the suburban community and exceeds their retail needs," said Mr Brown.

In “Jem® brings big names to Jurong hub” (BT, Apr 16), we said that the size of Jem® was 74,000 square feet. This is incorrect. The size of the mall is 76,000 square metres. We would also like to clarify that Jem®s collaboration with the South West Community Development Centre was for a recruitment drive, and not part of their studies to determine target markets and retailers. The above story has been amended to reflect the correction.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C

Senior Sales Director
DTZ Property Network Pte Ltd (L3007960A)

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