Central Pattana Plc (CPN), Thailand’s largest retail developer, is spending 3 billion baht to develop its new shopping mall in Surat Thani, which is scheduled to be completed in April 2012. Significantly, the company’s second biggest retail complex in the South after Central Festival Phuket, it would create 3,000 to 4,000 jobs for local communities, said president and CEO Kobchai Chirathivat.
The shopping mall will be built on a 62-rai site and offer 120,000 square metres of retail space, similar in size to CentralPlaza Chon Buri. It will include Robinson Department Store, Tops Supermarket, PowerBuy, B2S SuperSports, Office Depot, cinemas, 60 restaurants and 350 shops.
“We had been looking for chances to build a shopping project in Surat Thani for around 10 years but we could not find a good location until now. Surat Thani has high potential as it’s a hub for transport and many tourists travel from there,” he said. CPN is looking to attract almost one million people living within a a 90- kilometre radius from the centre as target shoppers. In addition, up to 2.8 million people in neighboring provinces such as Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ranong, Krabi, Chumphon and Phangnga are expected to visit the complex.
“In the past, shoppers just wanted the convenience of everything under one roof. What they now want is much more,” said Mr Kobchai. “In addition to convenience, they want more rewarding experiences when they visit the centre. The way we are doing that in Surat Thani is to give the whole development a resort-like atmosphere.”
CPN expects 80% of the retail space will be booked by August next year. The mall is expected to attract around 70,000 people daily.
The company also plans to develop a hotel on the land next to CentralPlaza Surat Thani in the future to support visitors of the convention centre in the shopping mall.
CPN shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 24.20 baht, down 80 satang, in trade worth 52.57 million baht.