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Asia & Australasia – Maintaining Momentum

The Asia-Pacific region is a major retail hotspot that accounts for more than 50 per cent of the planet’s population and is the largest market in the world. Meanwhile Australasia is a unique area that is home to some of the best retail developments in the sector. Here, RLI zones in on a selection of soon-to-be or recently completed retail real estate projects to highlight how the Asia & Australasia markets are maintaining their momentum.

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In the report entitled the ‘Asia-Pacific Retail Industry – Major Trends, Growth and Opportunities (2020-2025)’ by Mordor Intelligence, it is explained that key factors in the growth of the retail industry in this region are robust economic growth, rising population, changing consumer trends, rising purchasing power and the introduction of international retailers.

Meanwhile KPMG’s ‘Australian Retail Outlook 2022’ explains that while the rollercoaster of uncertainty continued last year, many companies were armed with a raft of newly-acquired strategic skills that they had deployed during the first wave of Coronavirus. In addition, consumer confidence continued on uneven ground as the country went in and out of lockdowns across various cities.

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JLL’s ‘New Zealand Retail Market Snapshot Q1 2022’ explains that even though the retail market continues to be one of the hardest hit industries from the pandemic due to enforced lockdowns and trading restrictions, increased momentum indicates a positive direction since the pandemic made its presence known. There remains however a continued divergence between location and quality.

Over the next few pages RLI will look into some of the major developments in these regions to portray how Asia & Australasia is continuing to build new and exciting developments against what is still a difficult backdrop, albeit one that has some light at the end of the tunnel.

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Huafa Zhongcheng Mall
Wuhan, China
Developer: Zhuhai Huafa Properties Co., Ltd.

Projects Across Asia & Australasia
Amid much fanfare and spectacle, Sands China Ltd. launched The Londoner® Macao integrated resort last year. The Londoner Macao is developer Sands China’s bold British-themed reimagining of the Sands® Cotai Central integrated resort, offering the best of British history and culture alongside a traditional yet contemporary hospitality experience. In addition to the Crystal Palace, the first-phase launch features new dining options, interactive London-themed attractions, and the opening of The Londoner Hotel – an all-suite tower featuring approximately 600 luxury suites. Designed by Hong Kong-based Steve Leung Design Group, suite interiors are bright and contemporary with an upscale British ambiance, and feature marble nightstands, custom beds with plush fabric headboards, elegant chesterfield sofas, high-backed leather armchairs, and Victorian-style bathtubs. Representing an investment of US$1.9bn, The Londoner Macao introduced additional integrated resort offerings progressively throughout 2021, including the Suites by David Beckham; Londoner Court, a luxury residential-style all-suite hotel; the re-themed Shoppes at Londoner retail mall which incorporates over 150 fashion and lifestyle boutiques and stores, from high street to haute couture; and the Londoner Arena.

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Architects 3MIX Architecture are currently working on the Jimei City Center project which is located on the central axis of the new town of Xiamen, 1.4km from the town’s administration centre. With the project’s location by the central axis, the 266m tall tower and a mall covering a total floor area of 60,000sq m, along with the distinct façade of the buildings, will undoubtedly turn the project into an iconic landmark of the new city, adding to the city’s long-standing reputation. Being developed by China Communications Construction Group, the project combines various types of space including accommodation, workspace, stores, restaurants, cinema, kid’s area, and abundant outdoor green area. It will provide a destination for new citizens to visit, work, and spend their leisure time. Respecting the liveable and vital characteristic of Xiamen, 3MIX are committed to create not only an urban landmark, but also a place with transparency and vitality for the local community to enjoy. The terraced landscape, waterscape sunken plaza and rooftop gardens will add to the site’s greenery. An opening date is not currently available for this upcoming project.

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CIFI Cmall
Chengdu, China
Developer: CIFI Group

Scheduled to open this year by developer Kinghouse, Hi Place Sanya is an additional project involving 3MIX, and the scheme is being positioned as the top “light-luxury” shopping mall in Sanya City, the mall facades are designed to depict quality with elegance and timelessness. Crystal-like media boxes work as the main elements of attraction for the facades, designed with large modules of glass curtain walls. Light grey aluminium and high-reflective glass cladding are designed to perform as a background for the media boxes. The three main entrances are upholstered with different themes to set up a clear orientation to all pedestrian traffic. Layered material weaving enhances the mall’s clarity and legibility, while reinforcing the stores’ identity at the ground level. Located in the urban centre of the famous tourist city of Sanya, the Hi Place Sanya Shopping Mall is targeted at the young families and a new generation of Sanya citizens, providing not only a convenient and modern shopping centre for daily life, but also as a one-stop destination for fashion, socializing and a relaxing lifestyle.

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Huafa Zhongcheng Mall is located at the eastern gateway of WangJia Dun CBD of Wuhan, Hubei Province, at the intersection of Hankou QingNian Road and Huaihai Road. The site is surrounded by well-developed transportation, educational, and commercial facilities. Subway Line 2 and 7 are directly adjacent to the site. With a total site area of approx. 45,000sq m and total GFA of approximately 130,000sq m, the development is composed of two high-rise office towers, serviced apartments, five-star hotel, boutique art hotel and retail.

The complex features a mixture of unique outdoor retail streetscape intervening with indoor shopping experience. Unveiled in December last year by Zhuhai Huafa Properties, the retail development is split mainly into two parts; shopping mall and F&B streets created by a series of blocks, and the indoor retail mall that sits under the office towers. The design language allows for a rich variety of architectural elements to be integrated as a part of the facade. By being able to adapt to different requirements and scales of the building, it engages with the human scale to create a walkable and pedestrian friendly place.

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Ningbo, China
Developer: China Resources Land

Also launched in December last year was the Hengqin Village development by Shun Tak Development Limited and design architect JERDE. The Hengqin Village development serves as an attraction for all as well as a solution to the lack of space in Macau. Designed as a gateway attraction between Macau and Mainland China, the project provides a variety of retail, entertainment, wellness, and food & beverage options, while adding connectivity to planned office and hotel/serviced apartment towers, as well as the adjacent immigration facilities building. Located at a prime location with direct access to the port and commercial facilities at the border of Hengqin and Macau, the site enjoys a premium transport network, directly connected to the Hengqin and Macau light rails and the extension of Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity-Rail in the future. As the podium for two towers, our 4-level village is the heart of the project and the main connective tissue between the various programs, both vertically and horizontally. The southwest corner serves as the primary face of the project as visitors arrive from the bus depot and the immigration port building.

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Hong Kong, China
Developer: New World Development

Finally, in December last year saw the launch of CIFI Cmall by developer CIFI Group, with architectural work undertaken by LWK + PARTNERS. With a total volume of 260,000sq m, the development is located in Xiangcheng centre, Xindu District, Chengdu. As a new generation or urban sub centre, Xiangcheng centre occupies the position of the Chengbei development centre in the Urban Diamond layout. Since its opening, the popularity of the mall has continued to rise, laying down its position as an important commercial asset in Xindu and in Chengdu as well. The vision of the project was not only to provide local residents with a place for rest, but a place for entertainment and create a regional landmark commercial complex building. In addition, they wanted to convey a dynamic and upward sense, as well as a positive attitude towards life and an integrated environmental atmosphere. The core goal of LWK’s design was to establish and enhance the brand value for the owners.

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Jio World Drive
Mumbai, India
Developer: Reliance Industries

Unveiled to the public in October last year by developer GRANDJOY Property Company, design architect JERDE’s renovation of the Joy Breeze retail centre in Beijing was inspired by the ancient Fire God Temple located on the grounds, directly adjacent to the mall entrance. The lantern-like aesthetic of the temple is reflected in the glowing, translucent forms of the new buildings. In Chinese culture the lanterns are a symbolic representation of celebration and prosperity, positioning this project as Beijing’s new destination for urban renewal and discovery. The project is a representation of Beijing itself, home to China’s second largest urban population – rich in history, while also embracing modern culture, creating a juxtaposition of new and old architecture within a cosmopolitan community. A portion of the building’s northern side has been carved out to create additional outdoor public space. The captivating garden terraces created above the city streets ascend to a unique, top-level entertainment, retail, and dining destination.

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Mitsui Shopping Park LaLaport
Bukit Bintang City Centre, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Developer: Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.

Launched in June last year, Huafa Newland is strategically located at the Yangjia Bay waterfront of Weihai, China. Weihai is prefecture-level city in the eastern Shandong province and is a major business and economic centre in the region. Another scheme by developer Huafa Properties, this project aimed to define a new civic focal point for business, leisure and retail at the South end of the City. With a total site area of approximately 75,000sq m and total GFA of approximately 162,000sq m, the development is positioned as a diverse and premium mixed-use development providing office, residential apartments, F&B, sport and leisure centre, retail spaces and movie theatres. The project is innately linked with the adjacent mixed-use ‘Huafa Kowloon Bay Center’ development on the Yangjia Bay waterfront. The developments interact with one another to create a continuous retail environment connecting the new CBD with the water’s edge. The retail project has created an open-air “retail street” shopping and F&B destination which will generate activity and interest and draws people into the development.

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Merdeka 118 Mall
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Developer: PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd

Completed last year by developer China Resources Land, MixC Ningbo is a 168,000sq m retail development located near the city’s Central Business District. The flagship property provides a new urban lifestyle destination with a distinctive public realm and experiential design offer. The design draws inspiration from Ningbo’s heritage, referencing the historic sloping roof house buildings. The brief was to create a destination that prioritises a community-centric approach alongside commerciality, ultimately delivering a sanctuary in the city. MixC Ningbo is a new urban lifestyle destination with a distinctive public realm and experiential design offer. The dynamic multi-level retail development features a 700m street frontage, 24 hour ‘Sky Walk’, inbuilt Ferris Wheel and innovative placemaking strategy to create a compelling and surprising proposition for visitors.

A game-changing retailtainment destination, 11 SKIES will be Hong Kong’s largest hub for retail, dining and entertainment and the first to combine wealth management and wellness services in one complete ecosystem. Opening in phases from 2022 to 2025 by New World Development, it is set to bring brand new experiences for consumption, entertainment and wellness services to everyone. 11 SKIES will bring together 3.8 million square feet gross floor area; 2.6 million square feet of retail space, encompassing over 800 shops and more than 120 dining concepts; 570,000sq ft of experience-based entertainment facilities including immersive, fun and interactive role-play learning experiences at KidZania, and Grade-A office towers. Strategically located right next to the Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, and Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, 11 SKIES will benefit from a high volume of passengers who travel through Hong Kong International Airport, which recorded 71.5 million in 2019 and will become a centrepiece within the GBA ‘one-hour living circle’ and a gateway to the rest of the world.

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Raffles City
The Bund, Singapore
Developer: CapitaLand

Launched in October last year by developer Reliance Industries, Jio World Drive spans across an area of 17.5 acres at Maker Maxity and is strategically located in the Bandra Kurla Complex. Jio World Drive is Mumbai’s newest, vibrant urban hangout. The precinct is home to 72 prominent International and Indian brands such as Coach, Emporio Armani, Steve Madden, Gant, Dior, Clinique, Calvin Klein, SuperDry and Michael Kors amongst others, 27 culinary outlets with cuisines from across the globe, Mumbai’s first rooftop Jio Drive-In Theatre, an open-air weekend community market, pet-friendly services, a dedicated pop-up experience and other bespoke services. The mall is a curated melting pot of never-seen-before brands, flagship stores, the city’s first rooftop drive-in theatre, art installations, unique dining experiences, and other unforgettable experiences. Everything on-site is designed to keep customers in the now. The facade design is inspired by a French term called ‘Nuage’, which translates to ‘cloud’, is a floating hexagonal design that wraps the external façade. It assures a whole series of performance criteria including thermal insulation, solar penetration, glare reduction and visibility transparency.

Launched in January this year by developer Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., the Mitsui Shopping Park LaLaport Bukit Bintang City Centre (“LaLaport BBCC”) is the very first overseas retail facility in Southeast Asia. LaLaport BBCC is a Japanese-originated lifestyle proposal shopping mall that creates interaction, livelihood and relaxation through its core mix of commercial facilities, offices, residential sites, hotels, and other facilities. The mall boasts a wide range of tenants and brands with some of the familiar names in Japan that are making its first appearance in Malaysia over a total floor space of 82,660sq m and 400 stores. The developer behind the scheme, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. is actively developing the commercial facility business in Asian countries and regions including Shanghai and Taiwan with its experience cultivated over the years in Japan. The opening of LaLaport BBCC also brings about a new customer experience with its lifestyle-based shopping mall proposition from Japan. The mall aims to become a facility that offers new culture and trends in Malaysia.

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Tokyo Tokiwabashi
Tokyo, Japan
Developer: Mitsubishi Estate Co

A seven storey-glass domed shopping centre which sits within the podium of a 118-storey skyscraper, the Merdeka 118 Mall development by PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd is set to attract a wider customer base whilst creating an arresting landmark for the city. A clear and sound retail strategy created by Buchan Group will be implemented to incorporate a diverse range of experiences with the podium holding over 200 stores and a state of the art cinema complex. Meanwhile, a large, inviting and bright event space is available for hosting a wide variety of events and exhibitions and breakfast, lunch, high-tea and dinner are available via a selection of local and international al fresco restaurants. The heart of the development will be a dramatic multi-storey water feature with an interactive screen offering customised messages for shoppers’ engagement called ‘The Raincloud.’ Opening in late 2022, Merdeka 118 Mall will offer a spectacular blend of the historic and contemporary at the very heart of Kuala Lumper with around one million square feet of retail opportunities, showcasing Malaysia to the rest of the world.

A predominant project in the area, Raffles City Singapore by developer CapitaLand is on course to reach the end of its rejuvenation in Q4 2022 that will signal the integration of luxury and unique experiences into the mall. Over 50 new brands, inclusive of specialty retail stores or experiential concepts, are entering the scheme as part of the asset enhancement initiative that started in late 2021, to offer shoppers more trend-setting, luxurious and seamless shopping experiences. The mall rejuvenation, which has been in progress since late 2021, will reconfigure about 111,000sq ft of the retail space to add over 50 new brands across Levels 1 to 3, to create an elevated and international outlook. Shoppers can expect a specially curated mix of well-established, premium brands, across fashion, beauty and lifestyle categories, new retail formats and exciting digital experiences that make shopping at Raffles City engaging, enriching and delightful every time.

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Melbourne Quarter
Melbourne, Australia
Developer: Lendlease

An additional Raffles City project was launched by CapitaLand back in July last year; the opening of Raffles City The Bund was the latest testament to CapitaLand’s strengths in iconic integrated developments. The final component in the over 300,000sq m megastructure was to welcome the public to the 120,000sq m shopping mall. The retail component of Raffles City The Bund, CapitaLand’s third and largest Raffles City development in Shanghai, opened to great fanfare and a healthy committed occupancy of 92 per cent highlighted the depth and diversity of China’s retail scene. The integrated development is located along Huangpu River in Shanghai’s fast-developing North Bund, a commercial and cultural hub with direct access to metro Line 12. Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects with Benoy, the architecture comprises two 50-storey premium Grade-A office towers linked at the base by a six-storey mall (four levels above ground and two basement levels). Lauded as Shanghai’s tallest twin towers with a height of 263m, Raffles City The Bund offers stunning 270-degree panoramic views of Shanghai Bund and Lujiazui central business district on both sides of Huangpu River.

The large-scale redevelopment of Tokyo Tokiwabashi by Mitsubishi Estate Co in the Tokiwabashi District in front of Tokyo station covers an area of 3.1ha and will be the largest project in the vicinity. The project comprises the following: two large-scale mixed-use buildings, Tower-A and B; an underground substation, Building C; a sewage pump facility, Tower-D; a large plaza; and Tokiwabashi Park (building names are provisional). One feature of this project is that the work will be carried out in stages while enhancing the functions of key urban infrastructure such as the substation and sewage pump facility. Tower-A was completed at the end of June 2021. The four buildings will be 140,000sq m, 490,000sq m, 20,000sq m and 30,000sq m in size, providing a mix of offices, retail and parking. The opening dates for this project are spread between 2021 and 2027.

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Harbourside Shopping Centre
Sydney, Australia
Developer: Mirvac Group

A key project by developer Lendlease is Melbourne Quarter, which is 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 full completion, Melbourne Quarter is expected to accommodate approximately 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.

The Harbourside Shopping Centre at Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia, is proposed to be redeveloped by the property owner, investment firm Mirvac Group. The redevelopment project was approved by the New South Wales Government’s Independent Planning Commission in June 2021. The shopping centre has been in existence since 1988 and is currently outdated. Set to be built in stages, the redevelopment project is anticipated to involve an investment of $518M. The plan comprises the demolition of the existing shopping centre to create a new 87,000sq m mixed-use development including a new retail shopping centre, a residential tower, and significant enhancements to the public realm. The Harbourside Shopping Centre’s redevelopment will deliver one of the most innovative retail, entertainment and tourist destinations in Sydney. The mixed-use project aims to improve the experience for shoppers and establish Harbourside as a revitalised retail and residential quarter in the city. Once complete, the centre will house 24,000sq m of office space, 7,000sq m of retail and 350 apartments. There will also be 10,000sq m of public domain, including the 3,500sq m Guardian Square and a widened waterfront promenade. Construction is expected to commence in 2023, subject to approvals.


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