What’s In Store For CapitaLand Mall Trust’s Funan DigitaLife Mall?

The iconic Funan DigitaLife Mall, which belongs to CapitaLand Mall Trust (SGX: C38U), will be closed officially on 1 July 2016 for redevelopment works that is expected to last for three years.

The redevelopment will add about 388,000 square feet (sq ft) of space to the mall’s current gross floor area of 482,000 sq ft, leading to a total area of 870,000 sq ft. For perspective, that is almost the size of ION Orchard, one of the newer malls along the Orchard Road shopping belt.

Currently, Funan DigitaLife Mall is well-known for its focus on the retail of IT products. In its new incarnation, it will become an integrated development.

Although the redevelopment of properties is a common thing in Singapore, what’s interesting here is that CapitaLand Limited (SGX: C31), the manager of CapitaLand Mall Trust, is seeking input from the public to find new concepts for the redevelopment of Funan DigitaLife Mall along the theme of “Play.Create.Live.”

CapitaLand, together with The Straits Times, are inviting members of the public to submit ideas for their vision of the new Funan DigtaLife Mall to the #BeyondIT digital platform. The idea is to transform the property into a “creative hub” that will include a ‘mall of the future’ that will bring experiential retail to a whole new level in Singapore. The window for submissions will remain open until 31 May 2016.

Funan DigitaLife Mall is an important asset for CapitaLand Mall Trust, contributing 4.3% of total gross revenue in 2015. As such, the closure of the property for the next three years might have some negative impact on the trust’s revenue stream.

But, the transformation of Funan DigitaLife Mall is essential given the growing importance of e-commerce among consumers. That might also be the reason why CapitaLand is interested to upgrade Funan DigtaLife Mall into an integrated development that (1) allows people to work, play, and live, and (2) help set a new benchmark for experiential retail in the Garden City.

Foolish Summary

Will the redevelopment of Funan DigitaLife Mall start a new era for the retail industry in Singapore? And would an increase of more than 80% in floor space for the mall help boost future rental revenue in a significant manner for CapitaLand Mall Trust? These are interesting questions to ponder.

But, first things first, with the public competition ending on 31 May, we might be able to get our first glimpse of the future of retail in Singapore soon.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore writer Stanley Lim doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.