Eight-storey mall opens in July with new top-end names; tenants get reductions in rent
ION Orchard hopes for a positively charged opening in July, having filled more than 80 per cent of its 300 stores.
Among them, and occupying a shopfront in Singapore for the first time, will be brands like high-end jeweller Harry Winston and luxury fashion label Dsquared.
The eight-storey mall will also provide designer labels like Diane von Furstenberg and Marc Jacobs and watch brand Patek Philippe their first stand-alone boutiques in Singapore.
Familiar names like Cartier, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Prada will take up double-storey flagship stores at the 640,000 sq ft shopping centre, which is about two-thirds the size of Vivocity.
To coax as many tenants as possible to open at the same time, the management has offered up to 30 per cent in rent cuts for three months until October.
Orchard Turn Developments' chief executive officer Soon Su Lin said yesterday that over 60 per cent of the space has been leased to flagship stores, new-to-market brands and new concept stores.
The last includes new concepts by Burger King and a gourmet supermarket from Hong Kong called ThreeSixty, which sells organic food and cleaning products. Shoppers can also look forward to new Japanese restaurants like Watami and Sho Teppan at the soft opening on July 21.
The rental cut is a welcome boon for RSH Limited, which will take up six shops for its brands like Zara, Mango and Massimo Dutti.
Said chief operating officer Kesri Singh: 'It's a good thing that Ion Orchard realise that times are tough now and we committed our shops at a financially better time.'
The company had approached Ion Orchard to reconsider rents. Any kind of help is good, even for just three months, he said.
Banding together to press landlords to ease rentals recently were the Singapore Retailers Association, Restaurant Association of Singapore, Singapore Jewellers Association, and the Textile and Fashion Federation.
Government-linked landlords like the Singapore Land Authority, Housing Board and Sentosa Development Corporation have given 15 per cent reductions on rent for the entire year, but commercial landlords have resisted blanket cuts. Ion Orchard is the first to offer any.
Two other malls are slated to open this year - Orchard Central at mid-year and 313@Somerset in November - but there are no indications that the developers intend to follow suit.
Ms Soon said they understood the challenges of opening in such an 'unexpected economic climate', hence the 'opening incentives'. She said she had promised tenants to monitor sales for the rest of the year to see if any other help is needed later.
Ion Orchard was leased out last September at prices of up to $80 per sq ft, compared with rents of $40 to $50 for the main Orchard Road stretch.
A grand opening is planned for October.Source: Straits Times, 24 Mar 2009
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