End of an era? What next for Singapore's strata-titled malls?

Authors: Keri Davies*, University of Stirling
Topics: Business Geography, Asia
Keywords: Retail, malls, Singapore
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 5
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Strata-titled malls have been a feature of the Singapore retail sector for many years, including well-known malls such as Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza. The malls themselves are often developed on a speculative basis and then the strata mall units are sold individually to different owners, who either operate the units themselves or lease them out to small tenants. All of the owners have a share in the ownership of the building and are therefore liable for costs towards its management and upkeep. To many observers these strata-titled malls do not compare favourably with the well-managed and regularly updated looks of the malls owned and managed by REITS or property companies. And yet they are often deeply embedded in their local areas and cultures and evoke a strong positive reaction amongst local shoppers.

The earliest strata-titled malls are now around 50 years old and many sit on land holding just 99-year leases. The result has been a sudden rush of interest in en-bloc sales in which the whole mall is offered up for sale, often with permission to be replaced by non-retail businesses.

This paper looks at the scale of the strata-titled mall sector and at the potential implications of the 'removal' of a significant number of them from the retail sector. Using a survey of a number of the malls, it considers the balancing act between the positives of the modernisation of the retail sector and the negatives of the social and cultural impacts on SME retailers in Singapore

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