Why Waterway Point is anchored for success

By Feily Sofian / | January 22, 2016 11:47 AM SGT
Waterway Point rings in visitors on Jan 18 amid a challenging retail environment and stock market mayhem. Its location, next to the Punggol MRT station, makes it the latest transit-oriented development in Singapore. With a net lettable area of 370,824 sq ft, Waterway Point is also larger than a typical suburban mall. These inherent attributes and the catchment profile for Waterway Point could mean a less bumpy ride for its retailers.
Based on our analysis, Waterway Point has an estimated catchment population of 567,357. More than half, or 323,527, are in its primary catchment area. Primary catchment is typically defined as a population base that will frequent the mall because of its proximity and the shorter commuting distance. A secondary catchment population, on the other hand, needs a longer commute and would visit the mall less frequently.
Of the 323,527 primary catchment population, 98% or 316,430 are residents living within the area. The remaining 2% are a transient population comprising those who work there, but may not reside in the area.
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The study identified the primary catchment areas as the URA planning areas that are located up to two MRT stations from a particular mall. Secondary catchment areas, meanwhile, are the URA planning areas located three to four MRT stations from the mall, applicable for suburban malls between 200,000 and 400,000 sq ft.
For regional malls bigger than 400,000 sq ft, the secondary catchment areas cover the entire URA planning region where the mall is located. For example, the secondary catchment for Causeway Point, which has a net lettable area of 415,774 sq ft, covers the entire North Region of Singapore. Live-in population was derived from official statistics while transient population was estimated using total occupied stock of office, retail and industrial space in the catchment areas and work space per worker ratio.
Existing catchment for Waterway Point
Catchment type
No. of people
Primary live-in
316,430
Primary transient
7,097
Secondary live-in
222,310
Secondary transient
21,520
Total
567,357

Source: MoM, Singstat, URA, The Edge Property

More to come
The 316,430 primary live-in population for Waterway Point is currently comparable to that for Causeway Point in Woodlands and Westgate in Jurong East. While Waterway Point has a smaller transient or working population compared with Causeway Point and Westgate, this is set to change as the Punggol Creative Cluster and Learning Corridor takes shape.
Being new towns, Punggol and Sengkang are expected to see high population growth rates. According to the latest HDB Annual Report, Punggol and Sengkang will ultimately house 96,000 and 92,000 dwelling units respectively, although no time frame is mentioned. This puts Punggol and Sengkang in the top five towns in terms of future number of homes, implying high population growth rates. Based on a household size of 3.4, the primary live-in population for Waterway Point is poised to grow by 300,000.
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Top five towns in terms of future housing units
Existing no. of housing units
Ultimate no. of housing units
Growth
Tampines
75,239
110,000
+34,761
Woodlands
65,444
98,000
+32,556
Punggol
36,510
96,000
+59,490
Jurong West
76,955
94,000
+17,045
Sengkang
63,363
92,000
+28,637

Source: HDB, URA, The Edge Property

Based on a simple regression analysis between primary catchment population and annual shopper traffic, Waterway Point may witness similar visitorship as Causeway Point in the near future (see chart below). This is set to rise as Punggol and Sengkang welcome more residents and workers in the longer term. The regression in our study involved eight suburban malls owned by CapitaLand Mall Trust and Frasers Centrepoint Trust — Bedok Mall, Bukit Panjang Plaza, Causeway Point, Junction 8, Lot One Shoppers’ Mall, Northpoint, Tampines Mall and Westgate. Notwithstanding this, other factors such as tenant mix and advertising and promotional initiatives, will also impact annual shopper traffic.
Evolving retail scene
Waterway Point welcomed more than 147,000 visitors on its opening day. Frasers Centrepoint Malls is the property manager for Waterway Point, which is jointly owned by the consortium of Frasers Centrepoint Ltd (FCL), Far East Organization and Sekisui House Ltd.
Christopher Tang, CEO for Commercial and Greater China at FCL, says the mall is 95% committed. Some stores will open progressively in the run-up to its official opening in 2Q2016.
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Singapore’s retail market is undergoing a major transition as traditional brick-and- mortar retailers grapple with the labour crunch and stiff competition from online platforms and overseas shopping destinations. How ever, this could bode well in the long term as landlords and retailers are driven to innovate.
Tang says he is seeing more F&B operators opening new-to-market dining concepts and the emergence of bespoke services. At Waterway Point, Uncle Leong Seafood and Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh will be establishing themselves in a mall environment for the first time, while Social Square, a Japanese- Italian Ristorante by Ministry of Food, will open its second outlet. Separately, fashion brand Yishion will be opening its largest flagship store at Waterway Point.
The mall itself is positioned as a seamless extension of the nature park experience at Punggol Waterway via the former’s 24-hour boardwalk. Its 24-hour supermarket FairPrice Finest and Shaw Theatres’ extended operating hours cater to Punggol’s young demographic profile.
Waterfront dining experience at Waterway Point. Are you into waterfront living?

Source: Frasers Centrepoint Ltd

FCL is also embracing technology to work in its favour. “We have noticed that the path to purchase has evolved, with many shoppers making informed decisions on potential purchases prior to entering the mall. During last year’s Great Singapore Sale campaign, we introduced a new e-commerce platform, Frasers Deals, that allowed shoppers to browse and purchase exclusive deals online before utilising them later at a more convenient time,” says Tang.
Meanwhile, Frasers Rewards, a loyalty mobile app for all Frasers Centrepoint malls, is designed to encourage return visits while the data collected provide insights into shoppers’ preferences and their purchasing cycle, he adds.
Notwithstanding the stiffer competition from online retailers, they cannot replace a day out with the family, a trip to the movies, a unique waterfront culinary experience, or a variety of shops that entice all our five senses, Tang notes.
“Shopping in Singapore is still viewed as a social activity, and if you provide an avenue such as Waterway Point, a lifestyle and leisure oasis at the heart of Punggol, people will still come together to create new experiences even in this digital age,” Tang says.
Tang: Digital platform cannot replace a day out with the family, or a unique waterfront culinary experience
This article appeared in The Edge Property Pullout, Issue 712 (January 25, 2016) of The Edge Singapore.