Marina Square in $95m expansion

MARINA Square Shopping mall is getting a $95 million makeover, its owner, Marina Centre Holdings (MCH), said yesterday.

Two new wings will be added in the two-phase redevelopment of the well-known mall in an area that is seeing rapid development.

The first phase is a 50,000 sq ft gourmet precinct, The Dining Edition, and the second is a 200,000 sq ft retail wing.

The Dining Edition will include 16 mid-tier and upscale restaurants and cafes and will form part of the mall's existing Level 2.

This project is part of Round 1 of the makeover, which is under way at a cost of about $15 million. It is slated to be completed by June this year.

Work on the upcoming retail wing, the second phase, will begin later this quarter and construction is set to cost about $80 million.

The retail wing will be built in the open space facing Marina Bay and Esplanade Theatre, including the iconic steps. It is slated for completion by the fourth quarter of next year.

This redevelopment will bring the total net lettable area to nearly 780,000 sq ft. The move comes as Suntec City is undergoing a $410 million revamp and with upcoming South Beach development not far from Suntec City.

MCH general manager Chan Yien Mei said the redevelopment plans had been two years in the making.

"This is a prime piece of real estate. As the greater Marina Bay precinct develops, we want to put our best face forward and showcase ourselves to the emerging catchment that is across the bay. So it's all about timing.

"It's a good thing our neighbours are also undergoing asset enhancements, so the timing is perfect."

Consultancy CBRE said a basket of properties in the City Hall and Marina area had recorded an average rental of $21.30 per sq ft per month in the three months to March 31.

The Dining Edition already has secured 14 F&B tenants, or almost 90 per cent occupancy.

These include new names such New York's Lady M Confections, popularly known as the pioneer of the mille crepe cake, which is seeing a growing popularity here.

Ms Chan said she expects pedestrian numbers to increase by 10 to 20 per cent.

On plans for the existing mall, Ms Chan said: "There could possibly be a Phase 3 but that's still in the works. It will probably involve the existing mall. Once the current redevelopment is done, then it'd probably be time to upgrade the existing assets. Most of the time, you see changes every five years in every other mall."

Source: Straits Times, 18 Apr 2013