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Sorya makeover unveiling set for Q1 of next year

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Sorya Shopping Center in its pre-makeover days, attracted mostly locals. Now, the developers will be dedicating an entire floor to attract and cater to tourists. Hong Menea

Sorya makeover unveiling set for Q1 of next year

Spurred on by stiffer competition in Phnom Penh’s retail space, Sorya Shopping Center’s $5 million facelift will conclude in the first quarter of 2017, the result of which will make the previously rundown mall more modern and attractive.

Charles Vann, a representative of Sorya shareholders, said via phone this week the renovation of Sorya Shopping Center will complete in early 2017, with the renovation proceeding in phases. He added that the renovation includes changing the name from Sorya Shopping Center to Sorya Center Point.

“Besides making it better and more attractive for locals, the mall is also being renovated to attract tourists,” he said.

“The structure will remain the same, but changes will be made to the front and overall aesthetic aspect of the mall.”

The renovation has been underway since April and was initially scheduled to finish towards the end of 2016.

Vann affirmed that the renovation process does not affect the businesses of vendors in the mall, as vendors continue selling their wares in temporary spaces within the mall’s compound.

Sorya Shopping Center, which sits on 40,000 square metres and is eight storeys high, started operating in 2013.

Kap Rithy, CEO of Sorya Mall, said the renovation is already 50 percent complete because the first phase – renovation of the ground floor to the fourth floor – is finished.

By the end of this month, vendors will be allowed to permanently set up their shops. The second phase of the makeover will begin in December and is scheduled to complete in three months.

The third phase, which is expected to be finished by next March, includes installing a new gated entrance and renovating the front of the mall.

The mall’s facelift will host new international and domestic retail brands offering jewellery, cosmetics, apparel and shoes for women, men and children, and electronics. There will also be banks, and room for recreational offerings such as playgrounds, gyms, a spa centre, a cinema, and food and beverage outlets.

Rithy said the first floor will be dedicated to jewellery shops and a food court, while the second floor will be men’s clothes and children’s toys. The third floor will comprise of technology and gadgets, and the fourth floor is solely catered to tourists’ tastes. Entertainment such as a bigger and better movie theatre, as well as a gym, will be on the fifth floor.

According to Rithy, the sixth to eighth floors of the mall will not be renovated because other companies have already rented them for their restaurants.

“Right now, the number of people coming to the mall has declined because we are in a makeover period, and it’s the rainy season,” he said.

However, he holds out hope that the number of patrons will increase after the makeover “because the mall is in a good location, and it has been known for a long time”.

“We have renewed internal policies and contracts with the vendors. We require them to display their items in an orderly manner, and place price tags on their items, because setting a clear price is our main goal,” Rithy said.

Thida Ann, associate director of CBRE Cambodia, said for a mall to be successful, certain factors have to come into play, such as design, proper product positioning, price, and the location.

She added, “Sorya is in a good location because it’s in a residential, commercial, and tourist area. Hence, the success of the mall depends on a good system and new innovations that separate it from the other local malls.”

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