New Jurong East mega-mall to open by year-end

Artist's impression of Big Box, an eight-storey warehouse and retail development in Jurong East that is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. Big Box is slated to open in Jurong East by the end of the year, according to its developer TT Intern
Artist's impression of Big Box, an eight-storey warehouse and retail development in Jurong East that is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. Big Box is slated to open in Jurong East by the end of the year, according to its developer TT International. -- PHOTO: TT INTERNATIONAL

A new mega-mall is slated to open in Jurong East by the end of the year, according to its developer TT International.

The Singapore-listed firm, which sells consumer electronics and furniture, said Wednesday it will open its first shopping mall in Singapore, Big Box, by the fourth quarter this year.

The 1.3 million sq ft mall will feature shops and restaurants, a hypermarket, an exhibition hall and warehouse facilities, said the firm's executive director, Julia Tong.

TT International will be the sole operator of the mall and will sell products from its own house brands, such as Akira for consumer electronics and Barang Barang for housewares.

Mr Wong Ah Long, chief executive of Big Box, said the mall will be the first to offer a drive-through service for shoppers to pick up goods ordered online.

The eight-storey complex will be connected to the Jurong East MRT Station and bus terminal, neighbouring malls like Jem, Westgate and JCube, and the nearby Ng Teng Fong Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital via a network of elevated walkways.

Big Box will be the last and largest development built under the Economic Development Board's Warehouse Retail Scheme. The other three are Ikea, Courts and Giant, all in Tampines.

The scheme, introduced in 2004, was meant to create large-scale warehouse and retail outlets. It allowed industrial land to be used for retail and warehousing activities.

"Unlike most other malls which function as landlords with tenant retailers, Big Box will have a single vendor who will seek to increase retail volumes and pass on cost savings to shoppers," said Mr Wong.

The project was initially slated for completion in 2009, but the deal met with setbacks when partner Lucrum Capital pulled out its investment of $200 million in July 2012.

In Dec 2012, TT International secured an investment of $92 million from Utraco Investment and Prima BB. It also later obtained a loan of $125 million from The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company and The Overseas Assurance Corporation.

TT International will own 51 per cent of Big Box. Another 30.4 per cent will be held by Utraco Investment and the remaining 18.6 per cent by Prima BB.

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