New Funan to come with a magic touch

From online to on-the-go, the development will even allow cycling through the building

By Jacquelyn Cheok

[email protected]


Sep 8, 2016

THE new Funan mall - when ready in the fourth quarter of 2019 - will be a platform that "inspires retail innovation" and offers a "new paradigm" for living, work and play, said its owner CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT).

CMT unveiled at the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday that the new property will simply be called "Funan" - it was originally Funan DigitaLife Mall - as a tribute to the site's legacy and an acknowledgement of the public's affection for the name.

"From online to on-the-go - Funan inspires real estate innovation to offer a new live-work-play paradigm in Singapore," said the real estate investment trust.

Funan will feature a whole floor of the latest digital gadgets and tech products, and co-working spaces for the mobile workforce, freelancers and startups, as well as co-living apartments for young professionals.

Asked about the latter, a CapitaLand spokeswoman said that they will be serviced residences catered to millennial business and leisure travellers, that will boast an "unconventional design", facilities such as social kitchens and events spaces, and programmes to foster community living.

She added: "Details are still being worked out as there are about three more years to Funan's completion."

The mall will go beyond selling IT products to "incorporating the tech experience throughout the entire integrated development". For one thing, it will offer online-to-offline (O2O) retail services to target tech-savvy, mobile-first customers.

These O2O services include a drive-through, click-and-collect and hands-free shopping service, where customers can choose to either pick up their purchases at Funan's concierge when they are done shopping, or have their shopping bags delivered to their homes. The service is said to be a first in the Central Business District.

CMT said that partners, such as movie theatre operator Golden Village, plans to launch Singapore's first multi-dimensional cinematic experience for feature films, and foodcourt operator Kopitiam a high-tech food court that will have tray and crockery return robots, self-ordering kiosks, and food collection conveyor belts.

CMT added that a sporting culture will feature prominently in Funan. Amenities include an indoor climbing gym, atrium basketball court, rooftop futsal court and swimming pool.

It will also feature full amenities for cyclists - including bike shops, bike cafés, lockers and shower facilities. CMT said: "Funan is set to become Singapore's first commercial building to allow cycling through the building." This is part of efforts to support Singapore's move towards a car-lite society and promote healthy living.

The integrated development will have a total gross floor area (GFA) of 887,000 sq ft. Occupying more than half the GFA at 500,000 sq ft will be the mall, a six-storey retail component which comprises four levels above ground and two basement levels.

Three towers will sit above, including two six-storey premium Grade A office towers from Level 5 to Level 10 with a GFA of 266,000 sq ft, and a nine-storey block housing 279 co-living apartment units from Level 4 to Level 12 with a GFA of 121,000 sq ft.

Lim Ming Yan, president and group chief executive of CapitaLand, said that the group is entering an "exciting phase of real estate development" driven by tech breakthroughs and the coming-of-age of a whole generation of consumers who grew up with the Internet. He added: "Funan is our response to these trends."

Christine Li, research director at Cushman & Wakefield, noted that the brick-and-mortar shop will be inadequate in today's context. "It is essential for all major stakeholders to reinvent their operations to drive the retail scene forward. I believe if Funan becomes successful ... CapitaLand will try to implement similar concepts on its other retail malls in regional markets such as China, Japan and Malaysia."

On Wednesday, CMT shares lost one Singapore cent to close at S$2.180, while CapitaLand ended four cents lower at S$3.19.