A powerhouse in global terms, the Asia-Pacific region looks set to be entering an era of dominance and a period of sustained economic growth. Across the next few pages, RLI takes a look at a selection of retail real estate projects that show why this has been the case in recent times and why the future projects back up these claims of growth in the area.

According to ‘The Edge Magazine Vol. 5’ and an article by Matthew Bouw, CEO Asia Pacific at Cushman & Wakefield, despite the severe economic and societal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic felt across the globe, recent data in Asia illustrates a profound resilience in the region. Bouw goes on to say that in fact, growth expectations over the next decade are not only still intact, but the region’s enviable pre-pandemic economic outlook, supported by massive demographic tailwinds and strong forecasts for regional corporate expansion plans, remain very much in play and will continue to propel the region forward to 2030.
Located at the eastern gateway to Perth’s CBD, across a 6ha site on the banks of the Swan River, Waterbank will include a mix of residential, commercial, retail and circa four hectares of public open space. A collaborative effort between the WA State Government’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) and Lendlease, the vision for Waterbank is to create a new wellbeing precinct: a social place that reflects the cosmopolitan Perth of today. At Waterbank, everything will be on your doorstep. Situated on the banks of the Swan River in East Perth, Waterbank provides easy access to free public transport and is a short walk Perth’s vibrant CBD. Relaxed, accessible, tactile and distinctly Western Australian in its design and identity, Waterbank balances its urban character with a strong connection to nature. The first stages of the project are currently due to open in 2021.

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Another project by developer Lendlease is Melbourne Quarter, which is set to be a vibrant commercial, residential, retail and cultural city neighbourhood – an authentic part of Melbourne’s CBD connecting the historic grid to the emerging Southern Cross Precinct. Melbourne Quarter is centrally located in the city directly opposite Southern Cross station, with extensive frontages to Collins Street and Flinders Street. It is one of the largest new mixed-use urban regeneration developments in Melbourne. The brand new city block will include three next-generation commercial towers, three residential apartment towers, and a diverse retail mix of food, lifestyle and wellbeing. More than 50 per cent of Melbourne Quarter will be open space, with public spaces including Melbourne’s first Sky Park, a major public square on Collins Street, a new neighbourhood park off Flinders Street and an exciting new Melbourne laneway, connecting Collins and Flinders Streets. On completion, Melbourne Quarter is expected to accommodate 14,000 workers and over 3,000 residents. Construction at Melbourne Quarter commenced in 2016 and is being delivered in stages over approximately six to eight years, with the final phase having just been given the go-ahead.

Novotown in Hengqin, which is situated in Zhuhai, China and opened in December 2019, is an international retail, leisure & entertainment mixed-use project comprising of diverse and complementary components including themed retail, hotel, office, cultural studios and cultural pavilions. The design brief was for a masterplan that can facilitate synergy between the different uses and encourage the development of a hybrid experience by extending the public realm and the creation of pockets of spaces for recreational outdoor sports and leisure, F&B, commercial and social activities. Being designed by Aedas and developed by Lai Sun Group, Novotown is an iconic development that will reflect on the Chinese culture. This mixed-use development features a retail ring which seamlessly links different experiences together while embracing a massive courtyard garden – the Heart of China Garden. Completed last year by developer Longfor Properties and architects LWK + PARTNERS, Zijing Paradise Walk is comprised of a gross floor area of 68,000sq m site and a site area of 28,557.5sq m. Taking good care of personal health and staying comfortable in a space are growing priorities for today’s consumers, a trend that has intensified since the pandemic. The Zijing Paradise Walk retail mall is a considered response by the developer and architect. With culture and wellness as the central themes, this new community shopping centre rests next to the Wulitang River in West Lake district in Hangzhou, China. It offers diverse leisure and wellness facilities spread across interlocking spaces, which are also well integrated with the key essence of ancient Hangzhou’s Hui-style architecture, embodying a sense of simplicity, elegance and preserved heritage.

Nanjing Dajiaochang Airport, Nanjing, China, Developer, China Fortune

Sungang MixC Market Hall, China Resources’ new mixed-use development is under construction in Shenzhen, China with anticipated completion in 2022. Located on a former industrial zone, this retail-gastronomy destination will provide an immersive gastronomic experience under one roof. Being designed by 10 DESIGN, MixC Market Hall will accommodate 78,890sq m of retail and F&B dining space, with two office towers above providing 102,320sq m of workspace. As part of the regeneration of the district, the overall masterplan will also include residential and serviced apartment towers, resettlement housing, and public amenities, providing a holistic redevelopment. Jointly led by two design partners, Ted Givens and Chin Yong Ng, the concept for this new development is to break away from the conventional shopping mall design and instead draw inspiration from a more traditional market square, creating a central meeting place for public enjoyment. This will result in a series of spaces created at different scales all interconnected.

One Bangkok, Thailand, Developers, TCC Assets & Frasers Group

China’s Zhongshan OCT Harbour, masterplanned and designed by LWK + PARTNERS broke ground in early 2020 and is envisioned to serve as a dynamic recreational destination and emerge in the west coast of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. LWK + PARTNERS planning and urban design team in Hong Kong office came together in collaboration with Shenzhen and Chongqing studios to create an urban cultural hub for the community, incorporating vernacular Lingnan aesthetics, river ecology and sustainability considerations alongside business opportunities. Shiqi, a traditional cultural core in Zhongshan, is going through an urban renewal process that involves a review of the potential of the Gangkou River. Zhongshan OCT Harbour will have a theme park, retail areas, residences, hotel accommodation, entertainment facilities and offices across both sides of the river, creating a diversified commercial, recreational and living experience on a rich, eco-friendly landscape. As the project develops, a respect for nature, local culture and Lingnan aesthetics gradually unfolds. The developer for the project which is set to open in 2023 is Zhongshan OCT Development Co. Ltd.

Zijing Paradise Walk, Hangzhou, China, Developer, Longfor Properties

Jiuzhou Bay is set to be a new waterfront neighbourhood in Zhuhai that will be designed by SOM Designs and developed by Zhuhai Jiuzhou Bay Holdings Group. In an effort to transform the city’s waterfront and create a blueprint for future development, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) was selected from a shortlist of 10 global design firms to create Jiuzhou Bay—a new 5.6 million square foot mixed-use neighbourhood that features offices, residences, retail, and infrastructure. The design sets a new standard for public transit in the region, with plans for a robust transportation hub that offers connections to land, sea, and rail across more than 40 acres. It also features five modular canopies that envelop three sides of a 1.8 million square foot port, weaving together a landscape of towers rising behind it and creating a series of covered pedestrian alleyways, a lively retail environment, and interlinked courtyards along the waterfront promenade. No completion date has been put forward yet.
10 DESIGN has won the design competition to redevelop an old military airport in Nanjing, China into a 2.6 million square foot contemporary mixed-use development. The redevelopment has been designed with the central theme of echoing the past while reflecting on the future for the city of Nanjing. The winning design features three interconnected buildings linked by a sunken street, incorporating office, retail, and cultural spaces. The project will run parallel to the sole remaining airport runway, which has been kept in its original form as a historic feature. Two underground railway stations are embedded into the site. A central corridor is positioned directly on top of one of the railway tracks, providing a feature passageway for commuters to navigate through the three buildings. Developed by China Fortune, the feature runway will provide a public space and be enlivened throughout the year with cultural activities. No opening date has been given yet.

Phoenix Palassio, Lucknow, India, Developer, The Phoenix Mills

Opened in July last year and spread over 1.5 million square feet, Phoenix Palassio houses over 300 brands including a variety of retail, F&B & entertainment. Phoenix Palassio offers many firsts under one roof like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Home Centre, Pantaloons, a 10-screen INOX cinema with unique formats and over 60 brands coming to the area for the first time such as H&M, Under Armour, Steve Madden, Superdry, Sephora, etc. Additionally, the mall showcases huge entertainment experiences like Funcity, Timezone coupled with sprawling event venues like Palassio Square which will hold musical events with a capacity to entertain close to 5,000 people at a time. Phoenix Palassio is one of the grandeur landmarks in the city that resonates with the architecture and cultural heritage of Lucknow with the essence of European architecture. Pioneered by The Phoenix Mills Co. Ltd., Phoenix Palassio boasts six atriums, three grand entrances and high arched ceilings with state-of-the-art chandeliers, boulevards, surrounded by lush green horticulture in its periphery.

Sungang MixC Market Hall, Shenzhen, China, Developer, China Resources

Lulu Mall and Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram, is located in the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Kerala. Due to open in August by developers Sobha Limited, LuLu Mall Thiruvananthapuram is located on NH 66 bypass at Akkulam, opposite to Technopark. The mall will be a two million square foot development with over 300 national and international brands, and 12 anchor stores including the LuLu Hypermarket spread across 200,00sq ft. The mall will house a 12-screen multiplex and 80,000sq ft Family Entertainment Centre, which will include a 20,000sq ft trampoline park. The mall will also feature a 2,500-seater food court, as well as several restaurants and cafes that serve various regional, international and specialty cuisines. With ample parking for over 3,800 vehicles, supported by a multi-level car park, spectacular flagship store designs, combined with an ample offering of food and entertainment, LuLu Mall Thiruvananthapuram will be a true destination mall for the people of Thiruvananthapuram and beyond.

Currently, under construction by Frasers Property and TCC Assets, One Bangkok will open its first phase in 2023 and become a new global landmark destination – a fully integrated district in the heart of the city. Once completed, it will be synonymous with Thailand and enhance the country’s stature on the world stage. One Bangkok will set new standards in terms of design, quality, connectivity and sustainability to be the most prestigious corporate address in the city. One Bangkok will set new standards in terms of design, quality, connectivity and sustainability to be the most prestigious corporate address in the city. A vibrant lifestyle destination, it will combine hospitality, retail, art & cultural experiences, together with the city’s finest residences. With a gross floor area of 1.83 million square metres, One Bangkok will incorporate the unique essence of Thailand and Bangkok’s rich history, combining a deep understanding of local social and cultural context with new experiences of urban living.
Vietnam’s Vingroup has officially opened its $2.8bn entertainment complex, Phu Quoc United Center, home to the VinWonders theme park. Phu Quoc United Center covers more than 1,000ha in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. It houses the country’s largest theme park, VinWonders Phu Quoc, which launched in April 2020. To mark the opening, Phu Quoc United Center kicked off a series of events, the beginning of the 7,200 multimedia shows and 12,000 mini shows that will be performed every year. The complex’s attractions include the first Teddy Bear Museum and largest floating multimedia show in Vietnam, as well as Bamboo Legend, an enormous bamboo building. Bamboo Legend was designed by Vo Trong Nghia and built from more than 32,000 bamboo trunks. It is adjacent to the Teddy Bear Museum, the eighth offering of its kind in the world. Wonders Phu Quoc covers 55ha and offers more than 100 attractions. Phu Quoc United Center shows include ‘The Elite of Vietnam’, ‘The Colour of Venice’ and ‘Once Show’. Covering 85ha, Grand World is billed as a ‘sleepless shopping and entertainment city’ where visitors can eat, play and shop. It boasts entertainment centres including Kstreet and Night Market, which are operated 24/7. In addition, Grand World features a space for artworks known as Urban Park. Additional attractions include Vinpearl Golf Course, Corona Resort & Casino, and Vinpearl Safari, which is home to more than 4,000 animals. There are also 12,000 hotel rooms available for guests.