CapitaLand Mall Asia has signed its second management contract within five months, to manage the shopping mall in La Botanica, a township in Xi’an’s Chan-Ba Ecological District.
The mall is being developed by (Xi’an) Property Development, a JV between CapitaLand and Hong Kong-based Henderson Land.
The deal follow CapitaLand’s announcement in August that it is managing the retail component of Fortune Finance Center in Changsha, China, for Changsha Pilot Investment Holdings. It also follows the acquisition of CapitaMall Xinnan (formerly Galleria, Chengdu) by CapitaLand Retail China Trust in September.
“We are fast-tracking the growth of our shopping-mall network in western China to capitalise on the region’s favourable economic prospects, which have been boosted by the Chinese government’s Western China development program One Belt, One Road economic initiative as well as the Sino-Singapore Chongqing Connectivity Initiative,” says CapitaLand Mall Asia CEO Jason Leow.
“CapitaLand’s asset-light expansion strategy through management contracts will continue to gather momentum with this deal in Xi’an, and complement our core strategy of developing, owning and managing malls.”
Under the contract, CapitaLand will oversee asset planning, pre-opening and retail management for a five-storey mall – four levels above ground and a basement level – with a gross floor area (GFA), excluding car park, of about 50,000 sqm.
Expected to open in 2019, the mall will double CapitaLand’s retail presence in Xi’an, where it owns and manages CapitaMall Xindicheng, a 60,000 sqm one-stop shopping mall, about 10km south of La Botanica.
Including the mall in La Botanica, CapitaLand manages a portfolio of 14 malls in western China with a combined retail GFA of about 1.13 million sqm. The region is also home to two CapitaLand flagship Raffles City integrated developments – Raffles City Chengdu, which opened in 2012; and Raffles City Chongqing, Singapore’s single largest investment in China at RMB24 billion (about US$3.4 billion) that will be opening in phases from next year.
Leow says CapitaLand is preparing to open eight more malls this year, six of which will be in China. “As we continue to enhance our retail scale and network through acquisitions and management contracts, we will also look at reconstituting our portfolio to achieve an optimal asset mix to provide us with stability and a strong recurring income stream. ”
CapitaLand-Henderson (Xi’an) Property Development GM Wu Xianyue says La Botanica is envisioned as a world-class garden city. It is in the heart of Chan-Ba Ecological District, a planned urban area integrating ecological, commercial, residential and cultural components. Targeted for completion in 2023, the township spans 3 million sqm, of which about 87 per cent is pegged for residential use. There is a commercial zone of more than 310,000 sqm, plus a 50,000 sqm central park, seven community schools and a general hospital.
The shopping mall is at the heart of La Botanica’s commercial zone and will be served by arterial roads, 20 bus routes and a metro line. It is expected to serve an estimated 600,000 residents and working professionals living within a 5km radius. The population catchment is projected to reach about 1 million in the next four years.