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Central Group Delays Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai Malls


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Central Group delays Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai malls

CHIANG MAI: -- The Central Group has delayed the construction of two shopping malls in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai due to the deteriorating economic climate.

Central Pattana, the group's retail and property-development arm, had planned to build two new malls this year. However, despite the current low cost of construction due to a decline in the prices of raw materials, the firm is not sufficiently confident that consumers' purchasing power will recover in the short term to risk starting construction of two malls, a Central Pattana executive said.

The firm is still committed to both projects, however, and will proceed when the time is right, the executive said. Chiang Mai city, he said, still has great investment potential and continues to grow. The province as whole has about 1.6 million residents and draws more than 5 million tourists a year.

Tos Chirathivat, CEO of Central Retail Corp (CRC), the group's retail arm and Thailand's largest retailer, announced that implementation of the firm's Bt10-billion domestic investment budget for 2009 would be delayed. The group is adopting a cautious approach in this time of economic uncertainty, which has dented consumer confidence and sapped spending power, he said.

Among the many difficulties facing Thai retailers is the sharp decline in international tourist numbers.

"This will be a less active year for CRC because we want to see the economy stabilise and people's spending pick up [before making further investments]," Tos said.

The planned low-rise shopping mall in Chiang Rai, expected to cost between Bt1 billion and Bt2 billion, would be developed on a 30- to 40-rai plot near a Big C Supercentre with a Robinson Department Store as its main retail anchor, said Prin Chirathivat, the Central Group's executive director for finance.

The firm plans to spend Bt5 billion to build its second Central Plaza shopping complex in Chiang Mai on 70 rai on the northern city's superhighway near Doi Saket Road, Prin said.

With gross space of 250,000 square metres and a net saleable area of 100,000 square metres, the Chiang Mai project will be the largest retail complex in the North, featuring a Central Department Store, Tops Market, Power Buy outlet, Super Sports branch, a fitness centre and more than 200 retail shops.

The interior and exterior will feature a "Modern Lanna" decoration scheme showcasing the region's cultural heritage. About 4,000 people are expected to be employed there.

"The new shopping complex in Chiang Mai will be the true lifestyle hub of the northern region, where customers can come in to catch up with the latest trends as quickly as in Bangkok," Prin said.

-- The Nation 2009-02-11

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Not at Doi Saket but at the Superhighway is where it was planned. Right at the Doi Saket intersection area. Heard the Mall group are however confirmed in building a shopping center on the Superhighway after the Big-C headed towards Lampang.

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Not at Doi Saket but at the Superhighway is where it was planned. Right at the Doi Saket intersection area. Heard the Mall group are however confirmed in building a shopping center on the Superhighway after the Big-C headed towards Lampang.

Is that where they recently cleared the second hand Merc dealership?

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