Jem mall delays today's opening over 'admin issues'

THE highly anticipated Jem mall in Jurong East is not opening today as planned, surprising some of its major tenants.

In a statement at press time late last night, Australian developer Lend Lease said it will be shifting the opening date back, citing "administrative issues".

Earlier yesterday, it had announced to much fanfare that the 241-store mall would open today.

It even conducted a tour for the media, told tenants to prepare themselves and fixed an opening celebration ceremony on Thursday.

Tenants including The Soup Spoon had even stationed staff at Jurong East MRT station nearby to give out fliers announcing their opening in Jem.

"We were anticipating having received all the necessary endorsements by the end of business today. However, that was not the case," said Jem's development director Chris Brown yesterday. "We have therefore taken the difficult decision of not opening the mall to the public tomorrow in order to adhere to regulatory requirements."

He added: "This is in the best interests of the public and the retailers... We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused and we will notify the public on the new opening date as soon as possible."

The Straits Times understands that the opening date will be moved back till beyond June 13.

When contacted last night, retailers like Swedish fashion brand H&M were taken by surprise.

Its marketing manager Lisa Chai was still preparing for today's scheduled opening at its new three-storey outlet at Jem when The Straits Times contacted her at 10.40pm. "We are all geared up for the opening. I am very shocked," she said, adding that she will be calling Lend Lease immediately for answers.

Do-it-yourself store Home-Fix's managing director Low Cheong Kee said he was told to open on Thursday.

"As far as I know, we are still opening on that date," he said, adding that the mall's opening date has already been pushed back before.

"Another delay would be unfair. We rushed things to open on time and that pushed up our renovation costs."

Lend Lease won the site in a government public tender in June 2010, beating five other offers with its bid of $748.9 million. Last month, the media had reported that Jem would officially open to the public on May 29.

Its tenants include 59 brands new to the suburbs, including department store Robinsons and H&M. Lingerie brand Victoria's Secret, Books Kinokuniya and cosmetic chain Sephora will also open their first suburban stores at the six-storey mall in Jurong Gateway Road.

When it opens, Jem will be the third-largest suburban mall in Singapore, after Jurong Point and nex mall in Serangoon Central.

It expects to attract more than 50,000 shoppers a day.

Lend Lease was also the developer of Orchard's 313@Somerset and Parkway Parade.