Southeast Asia’s largest developer has opened its biggest-ever shopping centre with the launch of the 300,000 square metre Suzhou Center Mall in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, as CapitaLand opens its eighth new retail development this year.
The seven-storey property designed by architecture firm Benoy drew more than 400,000 shoppers on its opening day last Saturday, according to a statement by CapitaLand. Located by Jinji Lake in the Suzhou Industrial Park business district, the project marks CapitaLand’s first mall in Suzhou as well as the biggest shopping centre in the city 25 minutes from Shanghai by high-speed rail.
The new mall forms part of a 1.13 million square metre integrated development, called Suzhou Center, that also features four grade A office towers, a pair of luxury residential towers and the W Suzhou hotel tower. The complex is master developed by Suzhou Hengtai Holding Group, an arm of the Suzhou Industrial Park government.
CapitaLand is the co-owner and co-developer of the shopping mall and two 21-storey office towers, which opened in the third quarter, through its wholly owned subsidiary CapitaLand Mall Asia. The partners broke ground on the mall in 2012.
CapitaLand Opens Biggest Mall To Date
“The opening of Suzhou Center Mall, an architectural masterpiece that is also our largest and most comprehensive shopping mall to date, marks a new milestone for CapitaLand,” commented Jason Leow, CEO of CapitaLand Mall Asia.
The new mall will serve a catchment population of over 4.3 million in the city proper as well as a total of 10.6 million residents in the Suzhou administrative area. The project spanning 300,000 square meters of gross floor area is one of the most spacious retail properties in the East China region, rivalling the 320,000 square metre Global Harbour mall in Shanghai.
Suzhou Center Mall opened its doors with over 90 percent of its 152,000 square metres of net lettable area committed to more than 600 brands. Experience-based retailers are heavily represented in the mall, with anchor tenants including Suzhou’s first CGV cinemas, an Olympic-size ice rink operated by Champion Rink, an OLE supermarket, and a Food Member food court.
The mall also features a 16,000 square metre “children’s zone” and an art gallery, along with 170 food and beverage outlets. Fashion brands Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21, as well as the HAY furniture store, are making their Suzhou debut in the LEED Gold-certified project, which will also be home to H&M’s and Zara’s biggest outlets in the city.
Other features of the mall include a 36,000 square metre, undulating roof designed to resemble a pair of phoenix’s wings, along with 60,000 square meters of greenery across various outdoor terraces, rooftoops and landscaped bridges that extend to the lakefront, and a huge water curtain facing Jinji Lake.
Singaporean Giant on a Retail Spree
Through the grand opening, CapitaLand fulfils a plan announced last November to open a total of eight malls covering nearly one million square metres of space in 2017. The group, which is Southeast Asia’s largest developer, has now launched operations of Raffles City Changning, Raffles City Shenzhen, Raffles City Hangzhou, CapitaMall Westgate, Capital Square and Suzhou Center Mall in mainland China, along with SingPost Centre in Singapore and Melawati Mall in Malaysia.
“As we increase CapitaLand’s recurring income base with the opening of new malls, we will also continue to enhance our retail scale and network through acquisitions and management contracts; as well as reconstitute our portfolio to achieve an optimal asset mix that provides us with stability and a strong recurring income stream,” Leow commented.
The listed developer chaired by Ng Kee Choe now owns and manages a portfolio of 69 malls in China, 61 of which are operational. The group has a total of 109 malls across Singapore, China, Malaysia, Japan and India.