1st Avenue, Penang's latest RM300 million shopping mall designed after Singapore's Raffles City, Marina Square and Suntech City, is set to open its doors in the third quarter of 2010.
The city centre retail mall, located in the heart of George Town on Magazine Road is jointly developed by three property and retail heavyweight groups Asian Retail Mall II Limited (ARML II), Belleview Group and Lion Group.
ARML II is the Asian real estate for Pramerica, which is the real estate investment management subsidiary of Prudential Financial Inc.
Asiamalls Management (SEA) Pte Ltd employer's representative and CEO Michael Leong said that the mall would house 280 shops on 400,000 sq ft of retail space with seven levels of zoned shopping.
Leong said the upmarket mall was modelled to target mainly the young and chic shoppers.
"80% to 90% of the shops will be the popular brandnames.
"We want to raise the standard of retail malls in Penang via 1st Avenue as tenants would also include Singapore retailers and the mall has also been carefully modelled after other successful malls in Singapore," he added.
The official launch of 1st Avenue and signing of its anchor tenant, Parkson Departmental Store, was witnessed by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Also present were 1st Avenue Mall Sdn Bhd director Datuk Sonny Ho, Pramerica CEO Victoria Shigehira Sharpe and Parkson Corporation Sdn Bhd COO Toh Peng Khoon.
Parkson is taking up 92,000 sq ft of retail space across four levels and the outlet will be Parkson's 36th.
Sharpe said that the collective expertise of Pramerica, Lion Group and Belleview Group will bring a new wave of shopping experience to Penang.
"Malaysia's sound economic fundamentals and strong growth capacity is evident from the Asian Public Real Estate's Association's recent REIT report, which stated that Malaysia's market capitalisation of US$1.43 billion (RM4.9 billion) is behind markets like Japan, which leads, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand.
"We are encouraged by these statistics, which point to a robust growth potential," she added.
As of June 30, Pramerica Asia managed US$6.4 billion of gross assets throughout Asia via ARMF-managed shopping malls in Singapore, namely Tiong Bahru Plaza, Century Square, Hougang Mall, White Sands, Liang Court and Tampines 1. - By Regina William (The Edge Property)