The opening of the new West Rail infrastructure could give a bigger boost to retail shopping arcades in urban districts than street shops in the New Territories, according to a property consultant. FPDSavills senior research director Simon Smith said district centres with a strong entertainment and dining component, especially in West Kowloon, stood to benefit if they could capture a portion of the 1.1 million residents living in the northwest New Territories. Mr Smith believed shopping malls in the New Territories had been targeting local residents more than visitors from urban areas. 'I think a new travel pattern will emerge, with the West Rail being used to get to West Kowloon, and even to Central. The retail market in the northwest New Territories may not benefit as a direct result of the West Rail,' he said. Midland Realty director Lawrence Wong believed there was room for growth in the retail property sector. Retail rentals in Tuen Mun and Yuen Long had jumped 20 per cent, compared with pre-Sars levels, he said, pointing out that average rents for street-level shops ranged between $70 and $100 per square foot. A KCRC spokeswoman said that 80 per cent of the total 7,100 square metres of space at 235 shops in nine stations had been taken, with rents ranging from $180 per square foot to $3,900 per square foot.