Closing: Funan mall

Funan DigitaLife Mall, which began its life as Funan Centre in 1985, will undergo three years of redevelopment to become an "aspirational lifestyle destination".
Funan DigitaLife Mall, which began its life as Funan Centre in 1985, will undergo three years of redevelopment to become an "aspirational lifestyle destination".PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Computer and electronics mall Funan DigitaLife Mall will close from next year to make way for an "aspirational lifestyle destination".

The ageing North Bridge Road mall, which began its life as Funan Centre in 1985, will close in the third quarter of next year for three years of redevelopment, its developer said in a statement yesterday.

The iconic building was once popular with computer buyers and geeks looking for new gadgets. In recent years, however, many consumers have given the mall a miss.

The overhaul is aimed at making the mall relevant to shoppers and retailers, said CapitaLand Mall Trust chief executive officer Wilson Tan.

The developer is also looking to make full use of Funan's untapped gross floor area of about 388,000 sq ft, which is about half of its allowable gross plot ratio of 7.0.

Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director of property consultant firm SLP International, said three years of redevelopment could mean tearing down most of the building.

"It could be an IT mall, but CapitaLand Mall Trust wants to keep options open for now," said Mr Mak.

IT megastore Challenger Technologies has been an anchor tenant at Funan for over 20 years. The Straits Times understands it will not reopen its 53,000 sq ft flagship store in another location for now. The chain, which has 46 other outlets, will redeploy all the staff at Funan.

Challenger's Funan megastore contributed only 20 per cent to total revenue in the third quarter of this year, compared with 60 per cent in 2004.

Said its chief executive officer Loo Leong Thye: "Over the last seven years, many of our members and even tourists have also begun shopping at our heartland mall stores."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2015, with the headline 'Closing: Funan mall'. Print Edition | Subscribe