Friday, July 9, 2010

More MRT retail areas coming

SMRT shares plans for Orchard, Circle Line at launch of Esplanade Xchange

SMRT is carving out a new shopping area at Orchard MRT station - and plans more such spaces at upcoming stations on the Circle Line.

The transport group shared the plans at the launch yesterday of Esplanade Xchange - a 2,000 sq m retail enclave at the Esplanade MRT station.

Teo Chew Hoon, vice-president of SMRT's commercial and taxi divisions, said that Orchard Xchange could be ready at the end of the year and will have a lettable area of around 1,500 sq m. The tender process for space has started and the group expects good take-up.

There are also plans for 'a few' Xchanges at MRT stations in Stages 4 and 5 of the Circle Line, Ms Teo said, without elaborating on where they might be. These stages of the line will run through such places as Botanic Gardens and Holland Village.

SMRT now has seven Xchanges. Esplanade Xchange is the third largest, after Raffles Xchange (about 2,400 sq m) and Tanjong Pagar Xchange (about 2,000 sq m). The group has about 29,000 sq m of retail space across the SMRT network.

Esplanade Xchange is fully let and there will be 26 shops. Tenants include the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's iExperience centre, Coffee & Toast, Dunkin Donuts and IT gadget retailer Juzz1. More than 90 per cent of the outlets have opened and all will be operating by the middle of this month.

Rents at Esplanade Xchange are at 'market rates', Ms Teo said, declining to elaborate further. At the nearby Suntec City Mall, the committed average passing rent was $10.89 per sq ft per month in March, according to Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust's first-quarter financial results.

Ms Teo said that Esplanade Xchange's location is a strong selling point. It is near Suntec City, Marina Square, CityLink Mall and Bras Basah, and will be directly linked to Raffles City Shopping Centre around the middle of the month. She expects pedestrian traffic to grow after the Circle Line is completed.

Juzz1 general manager Warren Teh said that the store has about 600 walk-in customers a day, and he expects the number to grow after the link to Raffles City opens.

SMRT shares closed unchanged yesterday at $2.32.

Source: Business Times, 9 Jul 2010

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