First a coworking space, now retail spaces in MRT stations around Singapore.
Japanese railway operator JR East (East Japan Railway Company) has announced plans to open retail spaces in Singapore MRT stations “as part of its overseas business expansion”.
According to a report on The Japan Times, JR East is “aiming to cash in on purchasing power in Southeast Asia’s richest economy”.
JR East said on Tuesday (3 Sep) that it will open the shopping areas at 27 out of the 32 stations on the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).
The TEL is 43 km long, and has 7 interchange stations which will link to the East-West Line (EWL), North-South Line (NSL), North-East Line (NEL), Circle Line, and the Downtown Line.
Several stations on the TEL are set to commence operation by the end of 2019.
Toshio Omiyama, Managing Director of JR East Business Development SEA Pte Ltd, revealed that there are initial plans to open shopping spaces at three stations “near the border with Malaysia on the NSL — Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South — in December”.
The largest shopping area will be a 1,570 sqm space at Woodlands Station.
JR East won a retail operation contract for S$24 million with SMRT Experience Pte Ltd, and Alphaplus Investments Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of NTUC FairPrice Co-Operative.
The three firms will be establishing Stellar Singapore-Japan Retail Pte Ltd in October to operate the retail spaces.
Around 5,000 sqm of total space will be rented from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for 16 years, starting from end 2019.
While NTUC FairPrice has indicated their plans to open Cheers convenience stores in these spaces, the shopping areas “may house some Japanese tenants that also operate shops in malls in Japan run by JR East”.
JR East added that they are the first Japanese railway operator to develop commercial facilities at stations overseas.