The Domain, a shopping mall built by the Housing Authority in Hong Kong, opens for business

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 September, 2012, 3:15am

The biggest shopping mall built by the Housing Authority in recent years will be mainly occupied by chain stores, although it has been marketed to be different from other malls.

The shop portfolio is also similar to that of those operated by a competitor, The Link Reit.

The Domain near Yau Tong MTR Station will open tomorrow with 98 per cent of space leased and some shops ready to serve customers. It will be fully operational by Christmas.

Albert Lee Kwok-wing, deputy director of the Housing Department, said the HK$1.5 billion project was designed to be different from existing malls in public housing estates.

"It is positioned to be a trendy and chic place to attract young people and families in Kowloon East," Lee said.

But many brands taking the 150 shops in the eight-storey mall look familiar, as they have featured in those managed by The Link Reit, including fast food chains and fashion shops. One of the two anchor tenants is the A.S. Watson Group, which is also one of the top 10 tenants in The Link malls.

The base rent per square metre is HK$420, on top of which the authority will charge a turnover rent if tenants' business is good. Lee said rents were market rate.

There have been concerns about what shopping malls in public housing estates offer since The Link Reit acquired most malls owned by the authority in 2005. It was criticised for raising rents, forcing out small businesses and replacing them with big chains.

Lee said some of the shops were being introduced to its malls for the first time. "There has to be a mix of chains and small shops. And there has to be some brands that people are familiar with in order to attract the customers."

Lee said a zone was reserved for small, creative businesses. Most of these 23 booths have been leased to young people who want to start a business and sell do-it-yourself products.