[url]http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/suite/story/0,4574,328668,00.html?[/url]

Published April 16, 2009

[B][SIZE="5"]Parco set to add zest to Millenia Walk[/SIZE][/B]

[B]Japanese retail specialist to run hybrid dept store/ shopping centre[/B]

By KALPANA RASHIWALA


MILLENIA Walk mall may soon get the magic it needs to offer the wow factor to shoppers now it has signed Japan's Parco group as a tenant to take up 85,000 sq ft on three levels.

Parco will invest about $10 million at Millenia Walk.

The Japanese retail mall operator and developer was credited with much of the early success of Bugis Junction mall here.

[email protected], which will open early next year, will be a hybrid between a department store and shopping centre.

Under an open-concept theme, Parco will sub-let space to sub-tenants, but they will not install roller shutters for their units.

The first level will feature an array of international cosmetics, fragrances and fashion-related products.

The second level will focus on local and Asian fashion and fashion-related labels.

Themed Japanese restaurants and food and beverage outlets will line the third level.

The $10 million that Parco is investing at Millenia Walk excludes investments by its sub-tenants.

Parco managed Bugis Junction's retail component from its opening in 1995 until 2006 - when ownership of the complex changed hands.

'Whereas at Bugis we focused on drawing the youth market, at Millenia Walk we will target more sophisticated shoppers to tap the sizeable working population in the area, as well as tourists,' said Lai Sau Kuen, general manager (corporate) at Parco Singapore.

She pointed out that Promenade MRT Station, which opens next year will have an exit close to [email protected], boosting accessibility to the store.

In Japan, one of Parco's most celebrated achievements is in Shibuya, a railway stop on the fringe of Tokyo where Parco transformed a stretch of deserted carparks and hostels for workers into a hip district with iconic 'fashion buildings'.

In Singapore, besides its involvement with Bugis Junction, Parco was engaged by Far East Organization to introduce new-to-Singapore Japanese retailers and F&B operators at its Central at Clarke Quay.

That management contract expired early this year.

The 85,000 sq ft that Parco will occupy in Millenia Walk is part of the former DFS space.

DFS moved out in March 2003 and the space is now occupied by several smaller tenants such as enrichment schools, Robert Piano/Steinway & Sons and high-end home entertainment system retailer Atlas Experience.

Landlord Millenia Pte Ltd, part of the Pontiac Land Group, plans to relocate most of these retailers elsewhere in the mall.

Parco will join Harvey Norman and Space, a high-end furniture store, as anchor tenants at Millenia Walk.

Next to Serangoon MRT Station, Gold Ridge Pte Ltd this week announced the first anchor tenants for its $1.3 billion mall, which it has named nex, opening by end-2010.

NTUC FairPrice will open its fourth FairPrice Xtra hypermarket, which will be a 60,000 sq ft outlet.

Shaw Organisation has leased 40,000 sq ft for a 10-screen cineplex that will also mark the launch of its first luxury theatre concept. F&B group RE&S Enterprises, the company behind Japanese restaurants Kuriya and Ichiban Sushi, will operate a 12,000 sq ft food zone themed 'Japan Today'.

Food Junction Holdings will run a 17,000 sq ft food court with seating capacity of 500. The six-storey mall will have more than 600,000 sq ft of net lettable area.

Gold Ridge's owners include institutional investors advised by Pramerica Real Estate Investors (Asia) Pte Ltd. Guthrie Consultancy Services is project manager, retail consultant and marketing manager for the retail development.