JAS Urban success spurs CEO’s expansion plan
BUOYED by the success of his third community mall, JAS Urban, Suphot Wanna hopes to double the size of his next shopping centre and build a new one every year.
The JAS Wanghin mall, with 5,000 square metres of leasable space, opened in 2014. That was followed by the 12,000 sq m JAS Ramindra in 2005 and the 17,000 sq m JAS Urban. The latter was soft-launched in November.
Suphot, the chief executive of JAS Asset Plc (J), is negotiating with landlords to acquire plots for development of his next shopping plaza.
“I would like to get 80,000 sq m of land that would result into a sellable space of 40,000 sq m,” said Suphot, referring to plans for the fourth mall.
Shares in JAS Asset are traded on the stock exchange under the J symbol.
As with the other three malls, J’s fourth community mall will be in Bangkok, Suphot said. Investment for each mall project, excluding land costs, is about Bt700-800 million, he said.
While the company’s first two malls failed to garner much attention in a crowded market, JAS Urban sold out its leasable space well before it opened.
The new mall has lured many retail magnets including SF Cinema, Dunkin Donuts, Au Bon Pain, and Baskin-Robbins of the Mudman group. Other big drawcards are The Pizza, Burger King, Swensen’s, and Dairy Queen of the Minor Group. These retail names are new to the J suite of tenants.
Suphot attributed JAS Urban’s success to its convenient location on Srinakarin Road and his firm’s customer-centric approach.
“We are inventive with design. We think about what we would like to experience if we were the customers,” he said at the official launch of JAS Urban on Wednesday.
J has worked closely with its tenants on the design of their outlets, including Starbucks, which resulted in a unique design that had initially been rejected by the coffee chain’s US headquarters on concerns it looked like a church. The company also turned to its own designs for the food court, as well as a large playground at the mall, after proposals from experienced developers failed to meet its expectations. J had had no experience in food court or playground designs.
The food court was designed to draw more visitors to JAS Urban while the playground, named Totem Kingdom, will serve the needs of families that make up half the mall’s visitors.
J is aiming for revenue growth of at least 30 per cent this year, thanks partly to a full-year realisation of rental income from its latest mall. The company recently unveiled its plan to venture into the condominium development business.
It aims to start a pre-sales event for a low-rise project in the Ekamai-Ramindra area from the middle of this year and for another condominium project late this year.
Concerning the company’s finances, Suphot said J was |working with its financial adviser to consider a debenture issuance, but it had no plans for a capital increase.
New source of revenue
He said the condominium business would help J to diversify its sources of revenue, now dependent on rental income |from its three main businesses: retail space for mobile p|hones and gadgets in |department stores under the IT Junction brand, night markets under the J Market brand, and community malls under The JAS brand.
Still, the retail business was “glamorous” and all the more attractive because there is no ceiling for rent so long as the tenants are satisfied with the shopper traffic, said Suphot, adding that his goal would be to increase JAS Urban’s average monthly rental charge from Bt800 per sq m this year, to a higher rate next year and beyond.
J is 67.5 per cent owned by JAY Mart, a mobile phone distributor that is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.