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Shinsegae’s Starfield Hanam to introduce exclusive malling experience

By Korea Herald

Published : June 28, 2016 - 17:20

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[THE INVESTOR] SARASOTA, Florida — A breeze of cool air, a bright ambience and the view of dozens of shops lined up across spacious pathways offer an immediate sense of relief and anticipation to all those who step inside the largest shopping mall in Sarasota, Florida.

The Mall at University Town Center in many ways embodies the typical features of a traditional U.S. shopping mall — spacious and horizontally spread out with rows of shops that each lead to so-called “anchor stores,” or big department stores that initially lure shoppers to malls.

At the same time, a closer look inside reveals several design elements that are unique to the Mall at UTC, such as a 20-meter ceiling and a continuum of glass sunroofs that allows abundant sunlight to naturally light up the building, creating a warm, cozy ambience for shoppers.

The building is also specially structured to minimize the use of columns — there are only four pillars that uphold the main part of the building — which gives the entire mall an open, atrium-like feel while shoppers can enjoy added mobility.

Though unobvious to shoppers, the mall has carefully lined up its stores in strategic locations to maximizes visibility as well. Walking down the mall’s pathways, shoppers can always see which brands lie ahead of them from any given location.

This Sarasota-based mall, developed and constructed by U.S.-based shopping center operator the Taubman Centers, offers a glimpse of what the upcoming Starfield Hanam shopping mall complex located in the outskirts of Seoul will look like and represent upon its completion in September.

Built as a 51:49 joint venture by Shinsegae Group’s real estate development unit and Taubman Asia and Partners, Starfield Hanam is geared to become South Korea’s largest shopping mall embodying Taubman’s core design elements — only in far larger scale and with added amenities and services to serve local needs.

Starfield Hanam: Korea’s first truly Western-style shopping mall

Starfield Hanam, a $1 billion mega project being pushed by Korean retail giant Shinsegae (Vice chairman Chung Yong-jin) as a new source of growth, will become not only the country’s biggest multiplex mall but also the first of its kind in Korea to offer a truly Western-style malling experience, said Taubman Centers chairman Robert S. Taubman.

“It brings to one location a truly western-style (malling) experience in the largest form for the first time ever in Korea. It takes the best of Korean retailing and the best of Western planning and marries them together,” Taubman told reporters in a press conference in Sarasota last Friday.

Featuring four above-ground and three under-ground floors, Starfield Hanam will house none other than the Shinsegae Department Store as its main “anchor store” on one corner, with Shinsegae’s wholesale retailer E-mart Trader’s as another core “anchor” location.
 
The interior of Starfield Hanam scheduled to open in September.                      Shinsegae Group The interior of Starfield Hanam scheduled to open in September.                      Shinsegae Group

Among a range of facilities for entertainment, sports and relaxation, Starfield will offer a wide spectrum of shopping options ranging from renowned luxury labels and fast-fashion brands to stores selling accessories and baby goods — all which have been strategically organized and situated for easy, simple and customer-centered navigation.

“Unlike competing malls, we have taken great care to systematically lay out the mall in the most simple and convenient way possible to best accommodate customers,” Shinsegae Property vice president Lim Young-lock said.

In terms of its overall design, Starfield Hanam also echoes the UTC Mall’s core design values in several key aspects. The Korean shopping complex flaunts a particularly tall ceiling — 35 meters high — with a flowing set of glass sunroofs that invite plenty of natural lighting into the facility. Likewise, Starfield has minimized its use of columns to maximize shopper mobility as well.

“Lighting is very important (to a shopping mall). It makes customers look good, feel good and happier as they walk through it. And Starfield Hanam will be filled with light and glass which enhances such light,” Taubman said.

From the interior design to the specifics of the store arrangements, Starfield’s layout is meant to ensure that customers feel relaxed and comfortable inside the building, Lim said.

“Starfield’s future sales will essentially depend on whether local consumers continually return to the mall, which hinges on successfully creating a welcoming, relaxing space,” said the Shinsegae executive.

Standing above rivals with convenience, diversity

As multiple rivaling shopping malls already exist in Seoul — such as the Lotte World Mall in Jamsil, Times Square in Yeongdeungpo and the COEX Mall in Gangnam — Shinsegae is betting its stakes on Starfield’s diverse offerings, facilities and unmatched convenience in ensuring that customers return.


“Unlike traditional department stores which attract customers mainly through sales promotions, a multiplex mall depends on its hardware (such as its facilities and layout) to continually attract customers,” Lim said.

In building Starfield Hanam, Shinsegae sought to create an all-inclusive destination for not only shopping but for entertainment, relaxation, fine dining as well as sports, Lim said.

In addition to the abundance of shopping choices, Starfield offers an indoor water park, spa and an outdoor pool resembling Singapore Marina Bay Sands Hotel’s rooftop “Infinity Pool.”

Starfield also prides itself on introducing Korea’s first in-mall recreational sports park, the “Sports Monster,” which includes an indoor court, a rock climbing wall, trampolines, a virtual e-sports park and an outdoor futsal field located on the roof.

The shopping complex also houses a movie theater, an antique shop as well as a karaoke equipped with some 50 rooms — the first in the industry, according to Shinsegae Properties.

The mall includes two main dining areas as well — a Europeanesque outdoor restaurant street offering premium Korean, Chinese, American, Japanese, Italian and Thai dishes, as well as a stylish indoor food court with a panoramic view of the mountains.

And all this is possible thanks to the sheer size of Shinsegae’s new shopping complex, which sits on some 117,990 square meters of spacious land in Hanam, Gyeonggi Province. Taken together, the entire mall is about the size of 70 soccer fields, Lim said.

Despite its remote location, Starfield strives to be an accessible shopping center as well. Located at around 20km from Gangnam of Seoul, it can accommodate some 6,200 vehicles at once — an unprecedented scale for a Korean shopping complex.

“Starfield Hanam will become a one-of-a-kind ‘shopping theme park’ for shopping, recreation and a mini-vacation away from home,” Shinsegae Group vice chairman Chung Yong-jin said in a statement.

“We expect the new mall to satisfy our customers‘ various needs, as it is the culmination of Shinsegae Group’s retail know-how and strengths,” Chung said.

By Sohn Ji-young (jys@heraldcorp.com)