Siam Piwat plans to invest up to Bt60 billion to develop three or four new property projects over the next three years, including a mixed-use commercial complex on a bank of the Chao Phraya River worth Bt35 billion, to start construction by next year.
On Charoen Nakhon Road, the new project will consist of a shopping mall, condominiums and an office building, aimed at attracting clients from Thailand and around the world. It will serve Thailand as the hub of the region, especially when the Asean Economic Community |is effective in 2015.
Siam Piwat also yesterday unveiled a sweeping rejuvenation of Siam Center, the country’s first shopping plaza when it was built 40 years ago, and the introduction of a revolutionary retail concept that promises to put Bangkok among the ranks of the world’s most innovative shopping destinations when it opens on January 11.
“It’s a total physical and conceptual rebuild,” said Chadatip Chutrakul, chief executive officer of Siam Piwat, the owner and operator of Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Siam Discovery and Paradise Park.
Brand owners and retailers have joined forces to create prototype store designs consistent with an overall Siam Center concept, including those of the biggest of big-name international and local brands in fashion and in food and beverages. Most stores also carry special product selections that are only available at Siam Center.
“With this type of demanding customer base, we always have to ensure we are staying at the forefront of retail development trends,” Chadatip said.
“That’s why we decided to go for this very innovative initiative, to build a venue that has a distinct identity of its own, and to collaborate with retailers and brand owners in getting them to design prototype stores that reflect a consistent Siam Center identity and a consistent promise to the consumer – that they can always expect to find something unexpected at Siam Center and that what they find here will not be available elsewhere.
“This is what we are calling the Absolute Siam proposition. It really is the first time in the world that something like this is being done. By being innovative and always having something unexpected on offer to visitors at stores in Siam Center, we hope to strengthen our position as the destination of choice for the visitor who is a trendsetter or who always looks for things that are at the forefront of trends,” she said.
Brand owners and retailers have agreed to conceive their store designs to reflect an overall theme that is clearly and distinctly Siam Center and to create prototype stores never before seen. They have also agreed that about 20 per cent of their collections – ranging from fashion to stationery and home decoration items – will be unique to their Siam Center shops. Some will offer personalised services not found elsewhere in Asia.
“Big, fast-forward international brands have also agreed to present their latest new-arrival collections in Siam Center before they are presented at any other branch. Even restaurants and cafes will have special menus that will be available exclusively at Siam Center,” Chadatip said.
“We are working closely with famous international and Thai artists to make Siam Center a platform where they may share and exchange ideas and inspiration, as well as facilitate the appreciation of their art through regular exhibitions and other events.”
Siam Piwat is creating the new Siam Center through a novel, collaborative effort and jointly investing more than Bt1.8 billion.
“More than 200 shops are working with us to create these totally new experiences for visitors. This is the biggest collaboration ever undertaken by retailers and brand owners in Thailand,” she said.
Siam Center has gross floor area of 40,000 square metres, with 250 metres of street frontage. It is at the crossover station of the city’s two BTS Skytrain routes. It is also at the heart of Bangkok’s retail zone with visitor traffic of about 150,000 people a day, of whom about 60 per cent are local residents and 40 per cent tourists.
“I’m confident the [Asean Economic Community] will do a lot to promote retail and the retail development sector in Thailand.
“With free movement of goods and services across borders in Asean, I’m confident that we will get a lot of new businesses starting up in Thailand that are promoted by Singaporean and other investors, and that more people will choose to take up residence in our capital,” Chadatip said.
“The fact that [the cost of] retail space in Thailand is, on average, about half of what it is in Hong Kong and residential space about 30-50 per cent cheaper means that there is also a great financial incentive for people to think about starting businesses and also living in Bangkok.
“I also believe that this will have a halo effect on promoting retailing and retail development in the provinces.”