“It’s rare to have such an F&B space, and a skylight makes a lot of difference in a shopping mall,” says Keppel CEO Michael Leong.
He aims to have the F&B area cover 10,000 sqft (929 sqm), but as the gross floor area of the mall has already been maximised at 282,000 sqft, he is thinking creatively. His plan is to bring in a voluntary welfare organisation (VWO) or non-governmental organisation (NGO) to take up space within the mall.
Non-profit organisations need not pay market retail rents but just a service charge of S$1.50 (US1.11) to $2 psf a month, says Leong. Under the rules, in return for the space given up for an NGO or VWO, an equivalent amount of floor area can be used elsewhere within the mall for retail.
Keppel is already revamping the six-storey mall, at the junction of East Coast and Joo Chiat Roads. It is the company’s first project, so Leong has made it a priority to turn it into a “quality asset”.
Keppel Land acquired a 22.4 per cent stake in the property for $51.4 million in January. It already owned the other 77.6 per cent through Alpha Asia Macro Trends Fund, managed by Keppel’s property-management fund vehicle Alpha Investment Partners.
Leong says he intends to retain the current positioning of 112 Katong as a “premier lifestyle and dining destination”, which has in the past year lost such tenants as Nubox, which sells Apple gadgets, Du-Yi bookstore and restaurants Din Tai Fung and TGI Fridays.
New tenants have emerged, including online store Megafash, and taking up 2800 sqft near the entrance is dim sum restaurant Tim Ho Wan, scheduled to open this month. Also signed up is a HomesToLife store.