BRICK-and-mortar retailers are upping their game to stay relevant in the market now that anyone can buy anything online.
Latest malls in the market are bringing in new concepts and bigger brands to draw customers in. Not just that, developers are building malls as part of a bigger integrated development and turning it into a destination.
The Sunway Velocity Mall, which opened in Cheras last October, saw the launch of a premium boutique concept by Marks & Spencer, which is also the first of its kind in the country. Occupying more than 10,600 sq ft, the boutique has a food hall and in-store bakery offering coffee and tea alongside breads and pastries.
The mall, which is part of the RM4 billion Sunway Velocity integrated development by Sunway Group, is the biggest mall in Cheras.
The retail centre spanning over one million sq ft in total nett lettable area is 96 per cent-tenanted. Tenants include Parkson, TGV Cinemas, Harvey Norman, Popular, Toys “R” Us, Japan’s Doutor Coffee and Grand Imperial Restaurant.
The mall should continue to enjoy high tenancy rate in the future, given the expertise of Sunway group in managing shopping malls, and its connectivity to public transport.
Sunway Velocity comprises office and residential towers, the newly-opened Sunway Velocity Hotel, Sunway Velocity Medical Centre and the mall.
The project is located 4km away from KL City Centre and with direct link to the Cochrane and Maluri MRT stations.
According to the managing director of property division, Malaysia and Singapore, Sarena Cheah, Sunway Velocity has a combined take-up rate of 95 per cent.
“Sunway Velocity is one of the game-changers for the mature neighbourhood of Cheras. We are planning a new development on 3.42ha of land which we have acquired. Known as Sunway Velocity TWO, the RM2 billion development will be linked to Sunway Velocity.
“It will have more than 2,000 residential units boosting traffic at the mall,” she said after the opening of Sunway Velocity Hotel, here, recently.
Cheah said the mall recorded 1.5 million visitations a month currently.
She said visitors had access to more than 500 retail stores, 150 food and beverage outlets, a host of entertainment centres and recreational facilities, making it an ideal destination for travellers at their convenience.
Cheah said the hotel would further improve the high-traffic at the mall and would also benefit from the commercial units, which were about 98 per cent sold and would house about 500 businesses.
The four-star 351-room hotel, with a gross development cost of RM146 million, is a 59:41 joint-venture project between Sunway Bhd and Fawanis Sdn Bhd, respectively.
Sunway Hotels & Resorts cluster director of operations Kelly Leong is confident the hotel will be able to operate at about 60 per cent occupancy in the first year of its opening taking into consideration the integration, connectivity, market size and competitive pricing.
“Cheras is a mature market, with a generous business population, especially in the trading and industrial segments. In addition to the ready catchment provided by the tenants of the office towers and healthcare tourists from the soon- to-be open medical centre within Sunway Velocity itself, we also anticipate welcoming visitors from the upcoming financial city of Tun Razak Exchange, Bukit Bintang City Centre development and the KL City Centre,” he said.
Leong expects Malaysians to constitute 60 per cent of the hotel guests, with the rest from Singapore, China and the Asia-Pacific region.
Next year, the hotel is targeting 75 per cent occupancy rate based on full-year operation.
Upon opening of the RM300 million 240-bed Sunway Medical Centre in the first quarter of 2019, the hotel will also be able to welcome healthcare tourists.