Mixed-use project will have retail, small office, residential components.

By Cheryl Lim
The Straits Times
December 8, 2011

DEVELOPER Far East Organization is planning to place a big-city style project more associated with Orchard Road in the suburban neighbourhood of Hillview Avenue.

The aim is to capture some of the urban edge found in big cities overseas while still exploiting its distinct Singapore location.

The mixed-use development will include a two-storey retail component featuring architectural and cultural elements designed to evoke the style of places like New York and London.

There will also be a 528-unit small office, home office (SoHo) residential space called The Hillier.

The new development, to be called hillV2, is intended to reflect the area’s heritage, said Mr Chng Kiong Huat, executive director for development and planning at Far East Organization.

That will mean blending the ambience of the affluent Upper Bukit Timah area with its history as a 1940s industrial enclave.

Mr Chng said hillV2’s distinctive concept and proximity will appeal to the 700,000 residents in the surrounding Bukit Timah and Bukit Batok areas even though there are other retail offerings nearby, such as the Rail Mall.

Far East’s new industrial-chic concept, which is similar to its mixed-use retail development in Seletar called Greenwich V, has potential, say retail consultants.

Ms Sulian Tan, senior director of retail and lifestyle at Savills Singapore, said the style may not appeal to everyone but expatriates and well-travelled Singaporeans might find it to their taste.

“I believe there is a sufficiently large customer base who would appreciate having such a lifestyle experience without having to drive all the way to the city,” said Ms Tan.

Other experts say the project could draw visitors from other parts of Singapore, especially once the nearby Hillview MRT station is completed.

But analysts caution that such a lifestyle concept might not work in other suburban areas.

“This works because the concept is linked to the distinctive past of the [Hillview] neighbourhood,” said Mr Ong Kah Seng, director at property research firm R’ST Research.

“Instead of transplanting the concept wholesale to another area, it might work better to leverage on the neighbourhood’s own unique  characteristics to develop a fresh concept.”

Several American brands will be at the mall, including Dean & Deluca, a gourmet chain that started in New York’s SoHo district. Known for its gourmet products, bakery, cafe and delicatessen, it has stores across the United States, as well as in Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the
Middle East.

The mall will have 33 units with sizes ranging from 311 sq ft to 8,887 sq ft. Food and beverage outlets will comprise 60 per cent of its total net lettable area of 55,500 sq ft.

A further 20 per cent will be allocated to a high-end supermarket, similar to the Jasons Market Place concept, said Far
East. The remaining space will be taken up by beauty, lifestyle and educational services.

The mall is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.