The Central i-City mall expects increased revenue as a result of new tenants, including the arrival of Maybank

Central Plaza i-City Real Estate Sdn Bhd anticipates that its flagship Central i-City mall in Selangor's capital city will generate more than RM50 million in revenue in 2023 as it signs new tenants and renews leases that expire next year.

The mall, which has about 350 retail stores, kiosks, and pop-up shops, is currently 87 percent occupied, according to Anthony Dylan, the company's chief operating officer.

He expects the mall to be 95 per cent occupied by next year, with the remaining five per cent kept as a buffer for new brands looking to enter.

"We were aiming for 95 per cent occupancy in the first year of operation based on our three-year plan, and we achieved 87 per cent despite Covid. We are only seven to eight per cent short. New tenants are preparing to move in as we speak. TGIF is opening today (December 3)," he told NST Property.

Sogo Department Store (200,000 sq ft), TGV Cinemas (40,000 sq ft), which houses Southeast Asia's largest Samsung Onyx LED cinema screen, and Village Grocer (40,000 sq ft) are the mall's anchor tenants. They collectively occupy 30 per cent of the mall's current tenanted space.

Central Plaza i-City is a joint venture between Thailand's largest retail property developer, Central Pattana Public Company Ltd (CPN), which owns 60 per cent, and i-City Properties Sdn Bhd, an affiliate of I-Berhad, which owns 40 per cent.

I-Berhad is the master developer of the RM10 billion i-City, a smart technology city with a global financial hub at its heart. Within the financial hub are Menara Sumurwang, DoubleTree by Hilton i-City (opening mid-2022), Central Walk, the i-City Convention Centre, residences, and the mall.

i-City also includes a Best Western Hotel, SoHos and serviced apartments, a Tier 3 data centre, cyber office suites, and a CNN accolade leisure theme park.

Maybank's entry to i-City will boost retailer sales and foot traffic at the mall

According to Anthony, the current monthly foot traffic at Central i-City mall ranges from 800,000 to 1.2 million.

He anticipates that when the DoubleTree by Hilton i-City opens in the middle of next year and Menara Sumurwang is fully leased; this figure will increase, as well as retailer sales.

Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), Malaysia's largest bank by assets, will be the new anchor tenant for Menara Sumurwang, a Grade A Green Building Index (GBI) smart office tower.

Maybank will occupy 14 floors at the smart office tower as the group's permanent alternate office location. By the first half of 2022, the office space will accommodate about 1,400 employees.

The 320,000-square-foot Menara Sumurwang will be renamed Mercu Maybank.

With Maybank coming in, the 33-story tower has achieved an 80 per cent take-up rate within the first year of completion, despite the pandemic.

I-Berhad and Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, multinational corporations, and international logistic players currently occupy the Multimedia Super Corridor-status smart office tower.

Other factors, such as the growing workforce and residents in i-City, as well as the future LRT 3 i-City station, which will be operational in 2023, will contribute to the mall's growth, according to Anthony.

"With things settling down, we expect more people to visit the mall. The mall's location on Shah Alam and Klang border give it the advantage of being in the middle of two large markets. We built this mall so that the people of Shah Alam and Klang could be proud of it. Central i-City mall is the closest to them, with new offerings and multiple F&B and fashion brands," he said.

Central i-City is CPN's first international mall, with the largest net lettable area in Shah Alam (close to one million square feet).

The mall cost RM850 million to build and had its soft opening on March 23, 2019.

The Sultan of Selangor, HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, did the official opening on June 15, 2019.

According to Anthony, the mall earned RM40 million in revenue during its first year of operation (March 2019 to March 2020), exceeding the company's target.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the various Movement Control Orders imposed in 2020, the mall earned RM40 million in revenue during its second year of operation (March 2020 to March 2021), which also exceeded the company's target, he said.

"In our current third year of operation, we intend to match what we achieved last year, so there will be no revenue growth because SOPs and restrictions continue to bind us.

"The focus for the coming year will be on tenant consolidation and lease renewals. If some brands have difficulty staying afloat, we will speak with them about their intended survival strategy. Otherwise, we may have to replace the brands with other well-known brands," he said.

Anthony said that 2023 is about continuing the upward trend in terms of revenue and earnings.

"We hope to maintain the momentum year after year," he said.

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