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Thursday, April 23, 2015, 09:32

Sun Hung Kai’s mega mall in Yuen Long to open in Q3

By Agnes Lu
Sun Hung Kai’s mega mall in Yuen Long to open in Q3

As more residents buy homes in Yuen Long due to cheaper property prices in the district, the demand for large shopping malls will give developers a boost against the backdrop of stagnant retail sales. (Billy H C Kwok / Bloomberg)

Against the backdrop of stagnant retail sales, Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd (SHKP) will open its new flagship mall in Yuen Long — the largest shopping complex in the Northwest New Territories — in the third quarter of this year.

The HK$5.5-billion YOHO Mall, built above the Yuen Long MTR Station and with a gross floor area of 1.1 million square feet, is expected to attract an average of more than 150,000 visitors a day, of whom 90 percent will be local shoppers.

“Yuen Long will have the fastest growing consumer population over the next decade,” said Henry Lam, general manager of leasing at Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency. “The lack of large malls in the area will help lift YOHO Mall’s development potential,” he said.

More than half of the mall’s tenants will be fashion outlets and a quarter will be restaurants, while cosmetics products, jewelry and watch retailers — popular among mainland tourists — will take up less than 10 percent of the retail space.

Property-market analysts said SHKP’s strategy to invest in Yuen Long, which is a non-core shopping area, and targeting local customers is based on the projected increase in new residential projects in the district. For that reason, the project will not have to rely on mainland tourists for customer traffic.

“We’re seeing a boom in new residential projects in Yuen Long,” said Daniel Wong, executive director of Midland IC&I. “The projected increase in population is attracting many retailers to the district,” he said.

SHKP already has a high exposure in Yuen Long. Its projects there include YOHO Town, Riva, One Regent Place and Residence 88, while several others are still under construction.

Lam said 90 percent of the shop units in YOHO Mall have been rented out for between HK$50 and HK$150 per square foot. Many tenants will be new to the area, including fashion retailers Zara and H&M.

An IMAX cinema — the largest in Hong Kong — is due to open in the mall next year.

The complex is expected to generate HK$200 million in rental income for SHKP in its first year of operation.
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