Festival Walk mall in Hong Kong to stay closed for now

Anti-government protesters had set fire to the Christmas tree and caused other damage in Festival Walk mall in Hong Kong on Nov 13, 2019.
Anti-government protesters had set fire to the Christmas tree and caused other damage in Festival Walk mall in Hong Kong on Nov 13, 2019.PHOTOS: REUTERS

The manager of Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust (MNACT) said on Tuesday night that its Festival Walk shopping mall in Hong Kong will remain closed until further notice.

Recovery works, including cleaning up of debris and assessment of repair needed, are ongoing on the property, which suffered extensive damage in the unrest last week.

Insurers have been notified and the assessment of claims is under way, the real estate investment trust's (Reit) manager said. "We are assisting and working closely with our tenants as the mall is not operational."

Metal hoardings have been erected in parts of the mall for safety and security precautions.

Units of of the Reit tumbled last Wednesday following news overnight that anti-government protesters had smashed glass panels at Festival Walk's entrances, including the office lobby and balustrades on various levels of the mall.

The protesters also set fire to the Christmas tree within the shopping centre as well as the office lobby, the Reit said.

The fires were eventually put out and there were no reports of injuries on the property located in Kowloon Tong.

The mall has been closed since Nov 12 amid citywide disruptions.

A DBS note said last Wednesday that sentiment on MNACT would remain cautious. "We believe that over time, the landlord may have to rethink potential tenant incentives in order to work together with tenants to ride out the current uncertain operating environment in the near term," the note stated.

The Singapore-based Reit generated about 62 per cent of net property income from Festival Walk for its second quarter ended Sept 30.

MNACT units closed down one cent, or 0.86 per cent, at $1.15 on Tuesday, before the announcement was made.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2019, with the headline 'Festival Walk mall to stay closed for now'. Print Edition | Subscribe