Cycle, climb or stay in Funan version 2.0

Far left: The new Funan will have an IT-dedicated floor. Left: Its centrepiece will be a wood and steel structure called The Tree of Life.
The new Funan will have an IT-dedicated floor. PHOTOS: CAPITALAND
Far left: The new Funan will have an IT-dedicated floor. Left: Its centrepiece will be a wood and steel structure called The Tree of Life.
Its centrepiece will be a wood and steel structure called The Tree of Life.PHOTOS: CAPITALAND

Former IT mall being rebranded as lifestyle destination with shops, offices, apartments

Plug and play at the new Funan, set to get a reboot from IT mall to "lifestyle destination" but with high- tech features.

An indoor cycling path, a four-floor climbing wall and a new Golden Village cinema complex are some of the highlights lined up, its owner CapitaLand Mall Trust announced yesterday.

The 31-year-old mall closed on June 30 and is being redeveloped into a mixed-use complex with two office towers, serviced residences and six retail floors. Its name will be truncated from Funan DigitaLife Mall to a pithy Funan, but it will not entirely abandon its tech roots.

A floor will be dedicated to IT products, and the complex will integrate smart shopping technologies, such as a drive-through collection for products ordered online.

Details were disclosed at a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of the three-year redevelopment, which will cost $560 million and nearly double the gross floor area to 887,000 sq ft.

 
 
 

Three tenants have already signed on: Golden Village, foodcourt operator Kopitiam and rock climbing facility Climb Central.

Golden Village said it would introduce a new multi-sensory concept, but declined to give details.

Kopitiam will introduce a high-tech foodcourt called KOPItech, which will feature robotic vacuum cleaners and self-ordering kiosks, among others. Climb Central, now at another lifestyle mall, Kallang Wave Mall, will have a 50-lane rock-climbing facility. Its highest wall will span four floors.

Sporting culture will generally feature prominently, with the addition of a futsal court and gym.

A six-storey wooden and steel structure called The Tree of Life will be the centrepiece of the complex, offering space for new retail concepts or studios.

CapitaLand Mall Trust Management chief executive officer Wilson Tan said the new Funan would cater to a generation of tech- and digital-savvy consumers.

"Today's conventional mall is indeed under challenge. I think it's important for us to go out and create a new experience," said Mr Tan.

Ms Christine Li, director of research at commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, lauded Funan's move to reinvent itself while embracing technology and lifestyle trends.

"Over time, landlords which continue to operate under the traditional model could lose out if their malls are deemed as 'square' compared with the new trend," she said.

Student Jason Quah, 21, who used to frequent Funan for gaming products and accessories, was nonetheless disappointed to hear the mall would be focusing more on sports than IT. He said: "I wish it would stay closer to its roots, but the cinema is a welcome addition."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2016, with the headline 'Cycle, climb or stay in Funan version 2.0'. Print Edition | Subscribe