The 12-story Living Mall, operated by Core Pacific City Co (京華城), in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山) turned off its lights floor by floor on Thursday night to symbolize its closure after 18 years.
The shopping mall is to officially close its doors today and the iconic granite-clad building on Bade Road is to be torn down to make way for a new office complex.
Speaking at a lights-out ceremony on Thursday, Core Pacific Group (威京集團) chairman Shen Ching-ching (沈慶京) said that he was deeply saddened to have to make such a decision, but had no choice because of huge operating losses.
The business lost NT$18 billion (US$589.9 million) last year, he said, apologizing to the company’s shareholders and the mall’s customers.
“The closing of the mall symbolizes the disillusion of a dream of mine,” the 72-year-old tycoon said with tears in his eyes.
After the closure, some of the mall’s 120 employees plan to retire, while the others would be reassigned to other Core Pacific Group businesses, Shen said.
The office complex that is to replace the mall would be beautiful and comfortable, he said.
When the mall opened in November 2001 it was said to be the biggest in the nation with 62,000 ping (204,959m2) of floor space — 12 stories above ground and eight below.
The mall began as a 24 hour, seven days a week operation, posting revenue of NT$8 billion in its first year.
However, over the years it lost customers due to its distance from the nearest MRT station and the growing popularity of Xinyi District (信義), H&B Business Group (住商不動產) head researcher Jessica Hsu (徐佳馨) said.
The group in December last year began to seek a buyer for the complex, which was priced at NT$38 billion, then later lowered to NT$34.2 billion.
The complex was finally sold in September to Core Pacific Group affiliate China Petrochemical Development Corp (中石化) for NT$37.2 billion.
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