Picked by Asia Property as Cross Border Deal of the Year 2015, EC Mall, one of Beijing’s most reputable retail centres in Zhongguancun (中关村), often referred to as China’s ‘Silicon Valley’, was acquired by our team and underwent a thorough programme of refurbishment and enhancement. Most significantly, our team was instrumental in leading the strategic direction and positioning of the mall, which witnessed new retailers, increased revenues and full occupancy.
EC Mall is a 71,000 sqm Grade A retail shopping precinct situated near Beijing’s technology sector. EC Mall benefits from close proximity to China’s top universities and high profile tenants such as Lenovo and Microsoft. The mall also benefits from direct access to Beijing’s underground train system and several major roads.
Our team’s off-market purchase of EC Mall represented a rare opportunity to acquire prime real estate in a premier location in Beijing. Importantly, the development risk was significantly mitigated as the construction phase had concluded, leaving our team to identify a value-added strategy to enhance the mall. We believed EC Mall to be a highly attractive opportunity, offering exposure via upmarket retail outlets to China’s fast-growing and affluent middle class.
Creating Real Value
Our purchase of EC Mall afforded us the opportunity to leverage our substantial Asian real estate experience and create real value via a programme of physical enhancement and asset management.
Our team played an integral role in driving the design, construction and management of EC Mall. The complex’s sophisticated look and feel together with our first-rate management attracted a number of major international brands including Nike and H&M.
With an annual footfall in excess of eight million and an occupancy rate of 99%, our successful management, leasing and operation of the mall increased rental income by 300% and daily footfall by 500% from when the mall first opened in 2009. The asset has now been sold following a highly competitive auction process with bids received from numerous high-quality institutional investors. The disposal marks our seventh sale of a shopping centre asset in China and third sale of a commercial asset in Beijing.