There are no plans to close down the Quill City Mall by the Quill Group of Companies, its developer and manager. The long-overdue residential component of the Quill City Integrated development is now being constructed, contrary to talk of the mall closing up shop for good.
“The market is full of conjecture and speculation [about Quill City Mall] and there is no reason to believe [it],” says group managing director Datuk Dr Jennifer Low Moi Ing to The Edge via email.
Downsizing of anchor tenant Aeon Co Bhd may have spurred the talk of shuttering the mall. In a June 2018 RAM Ratings report, Aeon was to progressively hand over 81% of its tenanted net lettable area to the management.
“The retail industry faced a very challenging year in 2018 and 2019. All malls are fighting for the same piece of the pie, so to speak. Nonetheless, we have differentiated (ourselves) from the competition, having invested heavily in a 65,000 sq ft convention floor on Level 6 of Quill City Mall for concerts, events, exhibitions and banquets, all of which are gaining traction. This is particularly so in e-sports and virtual reality (VR) events, which are trending with millennials,” Low adds.
The publication quotes her as saying that the mall will continue to offer the basics to meet the general grocery, entertainment and food and beverage demands of consumers. She also notes that the mall is making headway in new areas of online/offline shopping, co-working spaces, education and VR.
“Quill City Mall is in an excellent location and once the surrounding developments, including our Quill Residences — which is currently under construction — come on line, the community will grow into a significant market catchment where a strategic mall like Quill City would be able to meet its needs,” she says. “The mall is unequivocally here to stay.”
Quill Retail Malls Sdn Bhd (QRMSB) is the developer of the entire project.
The residences is set to be housed in a 36-storey building while the office component will be a 40-storey block, according to Quill's website.
The publication cites documents showing that QRMSB submitted fresh plans for the development of the integrated building comprising serviced apartments and offices, at the end of last year.
The Companies Commission of Malaysia website reveals that QRMSB is wholly owned by Quill Vision City Sdn Bhd, which in turn is equally owned by Low and Datuk Michael Ong Leng Chun. Low is group managing director while Ong is Quill Group’s group executive director.
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) in mid 2013 had reportedly been planning to invest as much as RM1.2 billion in Quill City Mall. This, at a time when retail malls were proliferating.
However, in 2017, The Edge reported that the EPF had scrapped plans to buy the mall as the shopping centre did not meet the preconditions stated in the sales and purchase agreement.
“We believe RAM’s adjusted valuation of RM750 per sq ft (or RM530 million, 2% lower than the previous RM595 million due to changes in the Mall’s NLA) is reasonable vis-à-vis recently transacted prices and the Mall’s recently assessed market value of RM830 million,” RAM Ratings says in a report.
The report also says the mall’s total NLA was expected to shrink to 681,000 sq ft from 778,000 sq ft previously following the repositioning of the mall.