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Viva Industrial Trust secures Decathlon as Technopark@Chai Chee's anchor tenant

Viva Industrial Trust (VIT) has secured its first retail anchor tenant, global sporting goods retailer Decathlon, for its asset enhancement initiative at Technopark@Chai Chee.

This will be Decathlon's first flagship store in Singapore and South-east Asia. The chain store operator of French origin is leasing 35,000 square feet (sq ft) of space on the ground floor of one of the blocks at the business park.

Decathlon is known for carrying only its own in-house brands which are competitively-priced. In fact, part of its strategy is to drive down its own operating costs to keep product prices low for consumers, hence its decision to locate in an industrial property rather than a shopping mall, Bastien Grandgeorge, CEO of Decathlon Singapore, told The Business Times on Thursday.

Decathlon operates more than 900 stores worldwide but up to now, has only transacted its sales online in Singapore. The new brick-and-mortar store, targeted to be ready by year-end, will allow customers to make cash-and-carry purchases for the first time.

VIT is sprucing up the business park which it acquired from CapitaLand in November 2013 at an occupancy level of just over 60 per cent.

Wilson Ang, CEO of Viva Industrial Trust Management, on Thursday said: "We are confident to bring the occupancy to 80 per cent or more."

His plan is to change the use of up to 15 per cent of the property's 1.5 million sq ft of gross floor area to "white" uses.

Mr Ang plans for this to yield up to 230,000 sq ft of retail/commercial space, subject to regulatory approvals. These uses will include retail, food & beverage, education and for sports-related services such as batting cages and rockclimbing walls.

VIT has received in-principle consent and provisional permission for the proposed alterations & additions and change of use.

Works are targeted to start in Q2 2015. The proposed full scale will involve three of the six blocks within the park where the ground floor carparks of two buildings will be repurposed to maximise prime leasable areas.

Currently, the business park is leased out to 69 tenants spread mostly across the information & communications technology, e-business/data centres, as well as the engineering and engineering services trade sectors.