Fri, Dec 03, 2004 - Page 10 News List

New mall will be nation's biggest

SHOPPING COMPLEX Uni-President hopes that its Dream Mall project in Kaohsiung will serve as a model that it can duplicate in other cities around the nation

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER IN KAOHSIUNG

Engineers use a scale model of the Dream Mall to explain the progress of construction of the complex in Kaohsiung yesterday. The mall will be Taiwan's largest.

PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-YI, TAIPEI TIMES

The bigger, the better. That's the basic spirit behind the Uni-President Group's (統一集團) plans to build the nation's biggest shopping center when it's completed at the end of next year, the group's head Kao Ching-yuan (高清愿) told reporters yesterday in Kaohsiung.

Kao made the remarks during a topping-off ceremony for the 121,000-ping (400,000m2) Dream Mall (夢時代購物中心), a multi-functional shopping complex in the southern city of Kaohsiung, yesterday morning. The city's mayor, Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), and dozens of high-level representatives of potential tenants were present to celebrate the milestone.

The mall, which is located next to Kaohsiung Harbor and within a 10-minute drive from the city's downtown, expects to divert shoppers from the city's smaller retailers, including Hanshin Department Store (漢神百貨), Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store (新光三越) and the FE21 Mega shopping center (高雄大遠百), Kao said.

"We have no rivals here [in Kaohsiung] because no one can compare with us in terms of size," said Kao, whose group owns the nation's largest food conglomerate, Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業).

"We will make it a landmark in Kaohsiung and a must-see for foreign tourists," Kao said.

The NT$30 billion (US$930 million) mall will be twice the size of the ball-shaped Core Pacific City Mall (京華城) in Taipei, according to the company.

Rising nine stories with three basement levels, the mall will feature a small rooftop Ferris wheel, as well as department stores, hypermarkets, theme parks, gyms, a Cinemark cinema (喜滿客) and an Eslite Bookstore to offer a wide array of services, said Yeh Chih-chung (葉致中), president of the Tung Li Development Co Ltd (統立開發), which is in charge of the mall's management and operation.

With 63 percent of the mall's available space already contracted out to tenants, Yeh said they are also in talks with international brands, including LV and Gucci, to strengthen the product mix.

The mall aims to attract 12 million people a year and achieve NT$14.4 billion in first-year sales, he said.

After the mall begins operation, the company will focus on building the second phase of the project, a five-star hotel on a 8,000-ping piece of land next to the shopping center, Yeh said.

As a novice in the shopping sector, the group has cooperated with Japan's Diamond City Co Ltd to benefit from its retail know-how.

"If the mall operates well, we will duplicate the model northward to Tainan, Taichung and then Taipei," Kao said.

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