ECC Group is pumping vigor and confidence in Northern Thailand by officially announcing the launch of Promenada Chiang Mai, the future shopping and entertainment landmark in the region.
Representing an investment of Baht 3.1 Billion (USD 88.5 Million) and expected to open in the second half of 2011, Promenada Chiang Mai will feature 75,000 sqm of retail and entertainment space, offering residents and tourists alike an innovative mix of international and local brands in fashion, food and beverage, as well as leisure and entertainment.
Caption (from left to right): Dion L.J. Heijmans, Founder and Chairman of ECC Group Supervisory Board, Dutch Senator Hans Hillen, Member of ECC Group Supervisory Board and Tjeert Kwant, Chief Executive Officer and Partner of ECC Group, at the press conference to announce the launch of Promenada Chiang Mai.
Dutch property conglomerate, the ECC Group, has officially announced the launch of a new landmark shopping and entertainment destination in Northern Thailand: "Promenada Chiang Mai" with Bt3.1 billion in investment. Expected to open in the second half of 2011, Promenada Chiang Mai will be located along Ban Sahakorn Road. It has 75,000 sqm of retail and entertainment space, Promenada Chiang Mai will offer residents and tourists alike an innovative mix of international and local brands in fashion, food and beverage, as well as leisure and entertainment.
When completed, it will employ 3,000 Thai people. Construction is scheduled to start in the second half of 2009 and will provide thousands of jobs to local workers.
ECC chairman and founder Dion L.J Heijmans said shopping malls' revenue in Asia is projected to grow by over 10 per cent per year, compared to just 4-5 per cent growth for the group's Promenada brand in European amrkets.
ECC International Real Estate, ECC Group's holding company in Thailand, has received a license from Thailand's Board of Investment (BOI). For the development of the Promenada Chiang Mai, it has formed a partnership with VGF Design, a Chiang Mai-based company specialising in the design, manufacturing and retail of luxury furniture.
Established in 1991 in the Netherlands, the ECC Group will leverage on its success in Europe, where the Dutch retail expert has been developing several shopping malls.
To date, the ECC Group has invested US$350 million) in completed projects in Central Europe. The group is currently investing in new markets in Europe, South-East Asia (Thailand and Vietnam), North Africa (Morocco) and the Middle-East (UAE). The investment volume of the pipeline projects is about US$500 million.
ECC Group upbeat on prospects for Chiang Mai mall venture
The Nation Published on May 6, 2009
ECC Group, a Netherlands-based retail developer, strongly believes Chiang Mai has room for up to two retail newcomers and that the company will achieve success as one of these operators.
CEO Tjeert Kwant recently said Chiang Mai had been developed in many respects such as residential projects, hotels and resorts and entertainment business over the past decade - but not so in the shopping-mall sector.
Only Central Retail Corp had announced plans to add another mall in Chiang Mai, while plenty of property developers, tourism and entertainment operators have continued to arrive in the northern city.
ECC Group early this year announced a plan to invest Bt3.1 billion to build the Promenada Chiang Mai shopping mall in the province. The plan remains on track despite the uncertain economic situation.
The company is adapting its latest design to accommodate local residents' requirements. Construction is expected to start in the final quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2010, said Kwant.
Central Retail Corp operates two shopping malls in Chiang Mai - Central Airport Plaza and Central Kad Suan Kaew Department Store. The company had planned to create new malls in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai this year, but this was deferred due to gloomy economic situation.
ECC Group is encouraged by the fact that developers such as Land and Houses have constructed many residential projects in Chiang Mai. Besides, there are many foreign companies established in the city. For example, one overseas movie production firm recently announced plans set up a studio.
So, the Dutch group believes the city in the near future will again attract many tourists and plenty of money.
In addition, Chiang Mai has as international airport, with many airlines flying directly to the province. Many Bangkokians also go to Chiang Mai in the holidays. More than 4 million tourists travel to Chiang Mai each year.
"It's a little bit confusing about Chiang Mai. It is the second-largest city in Thailand and many businesses are established there, but not for retail business. Most retailers are interested in expanding their malls in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket only. Now there are a lot of foreigners, both expatriates and tourists, in Chiang Mai.
"Therefore, Chiang Mai is big enough and ECC Group is confident that there is an opportunity for other retailers to enter this market," Kwant said.
He said the group had established an office in Chiang Mai in 2006, after which it began to conduct market research in the city. It found that retail business growth in Chiang Mai over the past couple of years had been about 5 per cent per annum. When the economy recovers, sales growth per year may reach 10 per cent, he added.
Kwant said it was, however, hard to predict growth in this business in the near future because many factors - not least the global economic crisis and the Bangkok airport closures at the end of last year - have affected retail business in Chiang Mai, with many tourists steering clear of Thailand.
ECC Group is designing the Promenada shopping mall to have a higher proportion of local entrepreneurs than existing malls, as this fits the needs of the local population. The proportion of brand-name products and local ones will be 60:40, with the company's priority target group being local people.
Kwant said the retail business in Thailand was more dependent on tourists than ECC's shopping malls in Central and Eastern Europe. This may be a weakness amid the global economic crisis and the uncertain political situation.
He said Thai retail sales over the past six months had dropped by 20-25 per cent, whereas in the Polish capital Warsaw, where ECC Group operates a Promenada shopping mall, its sales had declined by only 4-5 per cent.
"About 95 per cent of our clients in Poland are local residents. People in Poland may pay less for luxury goods amid the economic crisis, but they still have to pay for essential goods. So, our sales show only a slight drop," he said.
He added that focusing on tourists, however, could turn out to be strength for retail businesses in Thailand when the global economy recovers, because the country is recognised internationally as one of the best shopping destinations in the world.
The key to the ECC Group's retail success in Central and Eastern Europe, where it is the leader in some countries, is its cooperation with local partners, companies and individuals, plus dedication and listening to the local people's requirements.
These factors will also be crucial to a successful operation in Chiang Mai, said Kwant.
"We're the newcomer that brings new things to locals. We always cooperate with local parties such as manufacturers, partners and individuals and do everything to meet their requirements.
Moreover, dedication is another factor leading us to success.
"We cannot operate our shopping operation from Europe. I've already moved to live in Thailand. So, these factors will bring us success," he said.
Dutch investment group ECC sees potential for its destination malls in Thailand and Vietnam,
Bangkokpost By: Umesh Pandey Published: 9/05/2009 at 12:00 AM
'You should be fearful when everyone is greedy and greedy when everyone is fearful," is one of the maxims of billionaire investor Warren Buffett. The saying resonates these days with Tjeert Kwant, whose Netherlands-based ECC Group is looking to tap into retail markets across the region including Thailand.
The Promenada Chiang Mai will have two floors with a tropical feeling and resort style, with a focus on fashion shows and other events.
As companies start become increasingly cautious about expansion, few are looking at the opportunities becoming available as prices of land and construction costs drop.
"I must admit that in past there was an overvaluation of property assets but lately the prices have started to normalise and it has started to give us some hope of being able to make our moves," said Mr Kwant, the CEO and partner of ECC.
ECC is a real estate development and investment group with a focus on emerging countries. Since its establishment in 1991, it has specialised in developing and managing large-scale retail projects under the Promenada brand name.
The group is active in many markets in Europe and Asia including Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Vietnam and Thailand and has so far invested $350 million in completed projects. Another $500 million in investments are in the pipeline, focused mainly on retail development in Southeast Asia.
The group's success in Budapest encouraged ECC to look beyond eastern Europe and it sees markets in this region as underdeveloped, especially the likes of Vietnam.
Even in countries where the retailing market is mature, such as Thailand, there is a market for a niche retailing, says Mr Kwant. ECC aims to open at least one or two new malls in Bangkok and is also building a mall in Chiang Mai.
ECC, he says, focuses on developing new projects and is not very keen on taking over older ones and renovating them, or even becoming a financial investor. The reason is that returns on new projects are in excess of 20% but such high figures are not available in investment projects.
‘‘I must admit that in past there was an overvaluation of property assets but lately the prices have started to normalise and it has started to give ussomehopeof being able to make our moves’’ TJEERTKWANT CEO and partner, ECC Group
The focus on destination malls has helped push ECC to look for markets where the demand exists but the supply is lacking. Chiang Mai is one such market as it has only one major mall, Central Airport Plaza.
"If we create a resort-style shopping mall, the acceptance would be relatively good," he said.
The Promenada Chiang Mai would have two floors with a tropical feeling and resort style, with a special focus on fashion shows and other attractions for shoppers. "Our aim is to create an ambiance of a high-street shopping that is covered and cooled," Mr Kwant said.
The Promenada Chiang Mai is expected to open in the second half of 2011, located along Ban Sahakorn Road, linking the Superhighway and second ring road, in an area well known by Chiang Mai residents for its accessibility and shopping opportunities.
With 75,000 square metres of retail and entertainment space, Promenada Chiang Mai will offer an innovative mix of international and local brands in fashion, food and beverages, as well as leisure and entertainment.
The project represents an investment of 3.1 billion baht. When completed, it will employ 3,000 Thai people. Construction is scheduled to start in the second half of 2009.
ECC International Real Estate, ECC Group's holding company in Thailand, has received a licence from the Board of Investment (BoI). For the development of the Promenada Chiang Mai, it has formed a partnership with VGF Design, a Chiang Mai-based company specialising in the design, manufacturing and retail of luxury furniture.
Although some Thai retailers have expressed interest in Vietnam, none have taken the plunge yet, says Mr Kwant. "There is no destination shopping mall in Vietnam and ours would be the first."
ECC plans to invest $105 million in a shopping mall that would have 82,000 square metres, in collaboration with Singapore's GuocoLand Group.
[email protected], a project similar to Promenada Chiang Mai, will be located on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. Phase I is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2011 and Phase II in the fourth quarter of 2012. It would be Vietnam's first international standard destination mall.
Mr Kwant said ECC aimed to have at least a few malls in Vietnam as there was a major demand but the number of sites was very limited.
To help finance its projects in Southeast Asia, the group established ECC Invest in 2007. It is launching a fund, ECC Retail Investment Holding, with a total size of $250 million. The group says that its investment in Asia is likely to be financed mainly through internal sourcing.
Talking Stroll Down the Promenada: Chiang Mai to get classy mall in 2011
Chiangmainews CityLife Mag Vol. 19 No. 1 January 2010
There's no doubt that Thailand loves its malls, just look where all the traffic is heading on the weekends. In Pied Piper-esque fashion, cars line up one by one following the trail of the music issuing from our malls . . . who could blame us, it's damn hot outside.
Mallers (that's a neologism) will be pleased to know Chiang Mai will soon be home to very different kind of mall, a "totally different mall experience" as Tjeert Kwant, CEO of Dutch Property conglomerate ECC, exclaimed to Citylife. In late 2011 the international brand mall, Promenada, will be opening its doors on the Ban Sahakorn Road that links the super Highway and the second ring road, close to the Sankampaeng turn off after you pass Big C.
ECC, formed in 1991, has already developed several shopping malls in central Europe investing over 350 million dollars, and they plan to invest a massive 88.5 million US dollars in the Chiang Mai project. The BOI (Board of Investment) Thailand, has given the group tax breaks while ECC's Promenada will create thousands of jobs during the construction of the mall and of course for the ongoing running of the mall. They are currently investing in new markets in South East Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. The other investment in Asia will be called '[email protected]' which will be in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, a project not unlike the one we will have in Chiang Mai.
So what can we expect from our new mall?
Kwant, who is now living in Bangkok with his family, explained that Promenada is nothing like the average six floor mall experience. He explained that going to the Promenada is something like a "shopping resort feeling" where everything is on two floors and very spread out. "An entertainment indoor and outdoor experience" he says, adding that the shops themselves will be a mix of local, Thai and international products. "Its design, combined with atmosphere, will attract people to come for the experience as well as to enjoy its features. It will be attractive for sophisticated shoppers, and definitely for foreigners."
The mall will take up about 75,000 sqm of space, much of it for entertainment purposes, not just shopping outlets. Kwant explains that wining and dining is important to the experience, too, and says that as well as food courts there will be a selection of specialty restaurants, "where you can eat inside and outside, al fresco with shaded dining." The group is strongly considering a cinema complex, though that may come later in the future.
Kwant, who says he loves living in Thailand, has visited Chiang Mai on many occasions, and has only good things to say about the city. "You think of Chiang Mai, you think of nature, friendliness, of the colour green . . . we have designed the mall to fit with this." Even though the Promenada malls in other counties, notably Warsaw, Poland, will be similar - if you want a sneak preview - the Chiang Mai Promenada will still be unique, as Kwant explains, "it will be a Chiang Mai Promenada experience."
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