New Jurong mall aims to be Jem of the west
When completed around the second quarter of 2013, Jem is expected to be Singapore's third-biggest suburban mall.
By: Esther Teo
THE curtain was raised yesterday on yet another Jurong mall - but the ample supply of shop space does not worry landlords, who are betting on the growth of suburban retail areas.
Australian developer Lend Lease yesterday unveiled the design for its new shopping mall, Jem - the third-largest suburban mall here, with 818,000 sq ft of gross floor area. It is expected to attract more than 20 million shoppers a year.
Already, half of its shops have been leased - about two years before its scheduled completion in the second quarter of 2013 - with tenants such as Cathay Cineplex, Robinsons, Koufu, FairPrice Xtra and Courts signing up, the firm said.
While Lend Lease declined to disclose asking rents, it said unprecedented demand meant they 'were very competitive and consistent with market'. The 1.9ha mixed-use site is in Jurong Gateway Road, next to Jurong East MRT station.
Mr Paul Walker, Lend Lease development director for the project, said Jem will take Orchard Road to the west, with high street fashion brands expected.
While there is talk of saturation in Orchard Road, with four malls opening within a year, Mr Walker said the suburban retail market represents a new growth area.
The west is also under-supplied in terms of retail space per person compared with the rest of the island, he added.
And he said: 'The people in Jurong are crying out for a night-time destination.'
Jem hopes to become a supper destination, with Koufu possibly operating night noodle markets or beer gardens.
The office tower above the mall, with a net lettable area of 310,000 sq ft, has been completely leased to the Ministry of National Development, bringing the committed leasing for the entire development to 70 per cent.
The project occupies a prime location in Jurong Lake District, which is 21/2 times the size of Tampines Regional Centre, and will be the largest commercial centre outside the city.
Mr Rod Leaver, Lend Lease Asia chief executive, said the firm is keen to continue expanding its retail investment here.
On whether the shaky global economic situation is of concern, he said he was encouraged by the strength and management of the economy here.
'I think that's reflected by the strong pre-leasing we have achieved on this development, which gives us a lot of comfort,' he said.