Thursday, September 18, 2008

Orchard Central Over 50% Leased

Source : The Business Times, September 18, 2008

Mall says more tenants in pipeline; confident despite economic turmoil

FAR East Organization's Orchard Central mall is more than 50 per cent leased some six months ahead of completion, the developer told BT yesterday.

A different world: Orchard Central's high-traffic basement two will have a Mediterranean concept with food and goods coming from countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Morocco and Greece

Rents at the mall, which has a net lettable area of 250,000 square feet, range from $20 per sq ft per month (psf pm) to more than $70 psf pm, said Far East deputy director for retail management Susan Leng. 'We are still negotiating with a lot of potential tenants who are not in Singapore,' she said.

Because of this, some leases are taking longer to tie down. But more tenants are in the pipeline, she said. The mall is expected to be completed in Q1 next year.

In July, Ion Orchard - a joint project by Singapore's CapitaLand and Hong Kong's Sun Hung Kai Properties, above Orchard MRT station - also said that it is 50 per cent leased. Tenants are paying base rent of up to $80 psf pm.

Both projects have been dogged by rumours of poor demand for space amid the current financial market turmoil.

The upcoming 313@Somerset - the third of only three new malls to come up on Orchard Road in more than a decade - has yet give any details on leasing or tenant mix. In May, Australian group Lend Lease Retail, which is developing the mall, said that it had started marketing to potential tenants six months earlier.

Ms Leng said that Orchard Central faces no problem. 'I am fairly confident. Business has to carry on, even though economic cycles come and go.'

Unlike Ion Orchard, Orchard Central is looking for mid-range tenants because it is aimed at young working professionals. The fact that no luxury tenants have been named so far is not a concern, Ms Leng said.

She also unveiled the concept for Orchard Central's high-traffic basement two. The level - which is expected to see high footfall because of its links to Somerset MRT station and shopping centres Centrepoint, Specialist Centre and 313@Somerset - will have a Mediterranean concept and will be called The Med.

With lettable area of 14,370 sq ft, The Med will house retail, lifestyle and F&B units such as restaurants, cafes, ice-cream parlours, wine and cheese specialty shops, bakeries, pizza shops, chocolatiers, delicatessens and florists. Food and goods featured will come from countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Morocco and Greece. The level is designed by local firm DP Architects.

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