Funan set to open Singapore’s first O&O shopping mall in 2Q 2019

Funan is racing ahead to open Singapore’s first online-and-offline (O&O) shopping mall integrating online, offline, data and logistics aimed at empowering retailers’ omnichannel strategy and transforming the customer experience. The retail and its office components are now slated to open in 2Q 2019, instead of the earlier announced 3Q 2019. The opening of lyf Funan Singapore, a coliving serviced residence component within Funan, managed by The Ascott Limited, has also been brought forward from 2020 to 4Q 2019.

Owned by CapitaLand Mall Trust and managed by CapitaLand Retail, Funan celebrated its structural completion ahead of schedule. The topping out ceremony held at Funan Showsuite was officiated by Guest of Honour Mr Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Minister for Finance. From groundbreaking to structural completion, Funan took about 19 months. To date, 72 per cent of the overall construction has already been completed.

Lee Chee Koon, President & Group CEO of CapitaLand Group, said: “To succeed in tomorrow’s economy, all players must find a way for the physical and digital realms to coexist. While the current market share of online sales is small, its pace of growth will only speed up as tomorrow’s consumers enter the market. Brick-and-mortar businesses must thus go beyond passively selling products and services, to generating quality retail experiences and emotional connections that are ‘on-brand’ with consumers. Against this backdrop, CapitaLand is committed to help our current and future tenants stay ahead of the curve. We have conceived Funan to embrace new opportunities, with a focus on gathering and building a young and vibrant community by integrating an experiential mall with dynamic coworking and coliving spaces. This starts with top quality building design and space planning, complemented by the right mix of tenants and partners who can breathe life into the building. A digital layer of tech-enabled customer experience further enriches Funan’s offerings.”

Minister Heng Swee Keat was given a preview of a range of digital innovations coming up at Funan during the topping out event. These include a smart interactive directory that uses facial recognition to provide shoppers with customised recommendations, video analytics that studies shopper traffic and crowd density and an all-in-one app for Ascott’s lyf coliving serviced residence—the first app by a serviced residence company that will allow social networking and room booking; and will also serve as a mobile key. CapitaLand also showcased its groupwide innovations as part of its digitalisation strategy, including a merchant dashboard that enables retailers to tap consumer insights generated by CapitaLand’s CapitaStar loyalty programme and eCapitaVoucher, the digital version of CapitaVoucher—Singapore’s most popular shopping mall voucher—launching this November.

Funan’s innovation journey has scored several ‘firsts’ in Singapore. These include the first to deploy automated guided vehicles to provide shoppers with a hands-free shopping experience and the first to utilise a robotic arm for its twenty-four-hour drive-through click-and-collect service. As part of Funan’s tech-enabled user experience, building users can also expect conveniences such as app-based booking of facilities within the development, video-based smart carpark facilities and facial recognition turnstiles at its office towers.

Despite challenges such as a tight site with limited access, time savings are achieved through innovation in construction methods, and the choice of building materials and equipment to avoid redundancies and inefficiencies in Funan’s construction process. These include applying Virtual Design and Construction at the onset, and adopting a top-down construction method, which allows for the building’s basement and superstructure to be built concurrently. Precast concrete structural building components are also used to further reduce the construction time.

In addition, the construction of the underpass connecting Funan and City Hall MRT station will deploy the Rectangular Tunnel Boring Machine as it saves time and manpower, and minimises traffic disruption. The underpass is targeted for completion in 2021. — Construction+ Online