In a strategic move to redefine the retail landscape and foster community engagement, Singapore Land Group (SingLand) has embarked on a journey to transform West Mall, situated in the heart of Bukit Batok Central in Singapore. As part of the Asset Enhancement Initiative (AEI), this venture aims to breathe new life into the shopping experience, aligning seamlessly with the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s vision of creating inclusive and cherished public spaces. The ambitious project, set to
set to conclude in 2025, encompasses a series of key enhancements. This includes the creation of an enclosed public space at the mall’s level one plaza, an expansive upgrade to the Bukit Batok Public Library, and the introduction of diverse dining and lifestyle options at the basement level. Throughout these changes, West Mall will remain fully operational, with a commitment to providing a vibrant ‘eat, shop, and play’ destination for families and shoppers. Goh Poh Leng, head of commercial at SingLand, emphasised the commitment to value creation for both shoppers and tenants. The collaboration with the National Library Board promises new opportunities for learning and discovery, further enhancing the mall’s appeal to both shoppers and residents in the West. The story unfolds against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving retail landscape, where West Mall emerges not just as a shopping centre but as a community hub designed to cater to the evolving needs and preferences of its residents. From the revamped public library to the sheltered plaza and expanded dining options, the West Mall transformation signifies a deliberate effort to create a holistic and community-centric retail haven. The story so far According to Goh, the West Mall AEI aims to bring more community-centric retail experiences to shoppers through the inclusion of a variety of new spaces and is part of its long-term portfolio management strategy to unlock and optimise the value of its commercial assets. The mall’s open plaza will be converted into a sheltered plaza offering a weatherproof meeting point for communities to gather. In addition to facilitating social interaction, the privately owned public space will play host to community engagement activities, seasonal or festival-themed events, adding vibrancy to the area. “F&B kiosks will also be added to complement the public space, allowing shoppers to grab a quick bite while participating in these activities. The Bukit Batok Public Library will also undergo a revamp to upgrade its offerings and expand its current footprint,” she told Inside Retail. She went on to say that in order to address the evolving needs and lifestyle preferences of the community, the transformation entails expanding the basement level offerings of F&B and lifestyle shops, providing a wider array of choices for shoppers. As the library will be closed from the end of 2023 to 2025, a ‘Wallpaper Library’ will be displayed on the hoarding panels providing easy access to digital resources via a QR code. A book dispenser and reservation lockers will be provided for patrons to borrow and collect their reserved books. With the conversion, the plaza will be able to play host to a wider range of community engagement activities. These include sports and wellness, seasonal or festival-themed events. “While we are working on curating the line-up of activities for the new space, some examples of past events hosted at our open plaza include food fairs featuring night market classics, group workouts for residents living in the area, as well as seasonal festive celebrations,” she added. The F&B factor According to her, the F&B kiosks are integral in their role of complementing the community engagement activities hosted at the public space, allowing shoppers and their families to grab a quick bite while enjoying or participating in these activities. “For the basement level, we are actively curating a mix of F&B and lifestyle offerings and will share more details when these are ready. Meanwhile, shoppers can visit the West Mall website or the mall’s social media pages for updates,” she said. Goh went on to say that shoppers these days are increasingly looking for more community-centric and unique shopping experiences. “With the introduction of additional features such as a new public space at the mall’s level one plaza, an expanded library and retail offerings at basement one, we hope to facilitate greater social interactions in the mall, across a wider variety of engagement activities,” she opined. Interestingly, West Mall will remain operational during the enhancement works, and Goh said wayfinding signages have been installed to guide shoppers around the mall during this period. “Our AEI works are carried out in phases to minimise disruption to both shoppers and tenants. Apart from regular communication with tenants, our mall management engages in discussions with affected tenants on how to best minimise any inconvenience to their operations. Circulars informing tenants of works to the mall are also issued prior to the start of the works,” she concluded.