Shinsegae Property Inc., a unit of South Korea’s conglomerate Shinsegae Group, has solely bid and likely won the 10-year operation right over Convention & Exhibition Mall (COEX Mall), the largest underground shopping center in Asia, according to the industry and Korea International Trade Association (KITA) on Thursday.
Hyundai Department Store Co., which had been regarded as a strong candidate, gave up entering the bid. Another potential candidate Aekyung Co. also was absent. Shinsegae Property would likely be consigned to run the shopping mall.
The company would operate COEX Mall consisting of 247 stores on a site of 48,359 square meters and Cultmall composed of 80 stores on a site of 10,579 square meters over the next 10 years.
The mall with convention and exhibition is close to the Hyundai Global Business Center whose construction will be completed in 2021, making the area a promising tourist destination.
Shinsegae has so far made efforts to target commercial areas in Gangnam, southern Seoul. It remodeled the Gangnam branch of Shinsegae Department Store earlier this year and bought an additional stake in Seoul Express Bus Terminal last month to set a foundation to establish a Shinsegae Town by combining the current Shinsegae Department Store, the Central City shopping district, and others to be built in the block.
It is also ready to open Starfield Hana, which would be one of the nation’s largest complex shopping malls, in September. It is considered the ambitious work of Chung Yong-jin, vice chairman of the group.
Shinsegae plans to differentiate COEX Mall as an urban-style shopping mall. COEX Mall is the nation’s first underground shopping mall but it saw its visitors decline after remodeling costing 300 billion won ($266 million) in 2014.
By Sohn Il-seon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]