Sungei Wang Plaza's main owner CMMT fights back in mall war


  • Business Premium
  • Thursday, 22 Mar 2018

The major asset enhancement initiatives will be in Sg Wang Plaza, which will undergo a major refurbishment of its retail space.

KUALA LUMPUR: CAPITALAND MALAYSIA MALL TRUST (CMMT), which owns 62% of Sungei Wang Plaza and four other malls in Malaysia, is fighting back to keep its assets relevant.

It submitted plans and proposals to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall in the second half of 2017 to reconfigure Sungei Wang Plaza and improve its trade mix to boost competitiveness.

CapitaLand Malaysia Mall REIT Management Sdn Bhd general manager for mall management (central region) Lawrence Teh said the investment to boost the value of that piece of real estate is expected to be about RM54.5mil.

CapitaLand Malaysia Mall REIT Management is the REIT manager. 

Teh said the major refurbishment is expected to be completed in 2019.

CMMT has in total set aside RM80mil to enhance its malls. 

Besides Sungei Wang Plaza, CMMT portfolio of assets includes the newly reconfigured Gurney Plaza in Penang, The Mines in Seri Kembangan, Tropicana City Mall in Petaling Jaya and the East Coast Mall, Kuantan.

CMMT’s spending comes as the Malaysian retail mall segment is facing intense competition across the country.

According to Bank Negara Malaysia, 140 shopping complexes are due for completion by 2021, adding to the huge over-supply. 

Klang Valley has prime retail space per capita at 8.2 square feet per person while in Penang it is 10.5 square feet per person.  

In contrast, in Hong Kong and Singapore, the ratio is 3.6 square feet per person and 1.5 square feet per person respectively.

At the same time, Sungei Wang property management committee will also be spending an initial amount of about RM3mil to modernise the external facade of the mall fronting Jalan Sultan Ismail. 

Both CMMT and the property management committee are working together with the single objective to boost visitors and enhance the value of the mall in a challenging retail environment, particularly so in the Klang Valley due to an over supply of mall space. 

 The 41-year-old Sungei Wang Plaza has been trying to modernise with the times but the flood of new malls has diluted traffic of visitors considerably.

“The construction of the mass rapid transit (MRT) saw a drop in the number of visitors but now that the MRT is up and running, we are seeing an increase in visitors,” Teh said.

Around the Sungei Wang Plaza, there are several new malls coming up.  The major developments are the Bukit Bintang City Centre and the 108-storey Merdeka PNB 118. 

Both these developments are positioned as iconic projects, adding to the already intense competition for an old mall such as Sungei Wang Plaza.

The on-going redevelopment of Bukit Bintang Plaza for the next four to five years has also affected Sungei Wang Plaza parking and flow of shoppers.

Calling Sungei Wang Plaza and Bukit Bintang Plaza “siamese twins” due to the way the two buildings are connected, Teh said Sungei Wang’s above ground parking was via a ramp Bukit Bintang Plaza. 

“The number of visitors will rise again post-Bukit Bintang Plaza re-development,” Teh said.

Serviced apartments, a hotel and a retail podium is being planned for the former Bukit Bintang Plaza site. 

The urban renewal project is a joint venture between delisted-Tradewinds Corp Bhd and Ministry of Finance-owned UDA Holdings Bhd.
 
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