The owners of Patong Hotel and Banana Disco (Patong Beach Hotel Phuket Ltd.) have announced their ‘EAT,’ ‘SHOP’ and ‘PARTY’ plans for the new lifestyle shopping mall they are developing for a May 2012 opening on Patong Beach on Phuket.
Aptly named Banana Walk, the 3-level beachfront shopping complex will feature a “modern, tropical” design concept which, according to Smith Obayawat, the project’s architect, will help to change to the face of street-shopping on Patong Beach.
Banana Walk is situated on the beachfront of Patong Beach Road, just 100 meters south of Soi Bangla and next to the Banana Disco. Construction crews broke ground last week on the 4,500 m² land plot to build Banana Walk and its estimated 30 boutique retail outlets, five restaurants and rooftop nightclubs. The final building design will depend on the space requirements and design ideas of the new tenants.
“With Banana Walk we have designed architecture to create a shopping experience that’s a complete departure from the typical Thai neighborhood or community malls,” says Obayawat, founder of The Office of Bangkok Architects (OBA), one of Bangkok’s leading architects. “This is a very special location so we need to remember that more is not always necessarily better.”
“We believe street level mall design in Thailand needs to allow for more freedom of movement and flow for these types of spaces,” says Obayawat. “We’ve done that with Banana Walk with low density designs that provide ample outdoor lounge areas where travellers can mingle and gaze at the shops and restaurants that semi-surround them. It also makes common sense that when you have a lovely beachfront setting like Banana Walk that every living space in the complex faces the waterfront.”
Banana Walk’s architectural design has a natural and elegant approach but still has a beach feel with construction elements that include stone, wood, glass and bamboo. Special design elements also create a less air-conditioned environment by using natural ventilation in common lounge areas. The exterior design uses extensive sun and rain shielding with natural materials to protect the glass and exposed areas from the elements.
Nick Anthony, managing director of Indigo Real Estate, the Banana Walk leasing agent, is attracting quality, international retailers, a variety of restaurant brands and international bar and nightclub operators for the roof-top lounge areas that offer amazing sea views.
“The fresh design approach and the prime location of Banana Walk are attracting some interesting retailers to Patong,” says Nick Anthony. “If you’re a retailer or restaurant operator looking to expand into Thailand, Patong is a market that can’t be overlooked as its popularity continues to grow. This section of Patong where Banana Walk is located gets an average of over 5,000+ people each day who walk-by and almost 1,000 people per hour in the evening.”
Phuket passenger arrivals in the first 6 months was up 30 per cent over the same period in 2010 and domestic arrivals increased by 11 per cent, breaking the one million mark. Experts also point to the fact Phuket isn’t just attracting more tourists, but also gaining growth from the sought-after China and Russia markets.
According to research conducted by C9 Hotelworks real estate consultants, mainland China tourists were the top travel producers for the first half of 2011, growing 103 per cent compared to 2010. China holds the number one spot providing 13 per cent of the source market, Russia is second with 12 per cent. South Korean visits also rose 30 per cent over the first six months of last year.
“When you talk about pure tourism numbers on Phuket, Patong is still king,” says Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks. “Patong room occupancy was an amazing 82 per cent in the first half of this year. With a new supply line of 6,968 rooms coming to Phuket by 2014, 68 per cent of which will be located on the west coast, Patong is in for a huge growth spurt.”
The cancelling of the low season and rebranding to summer season on Phuket is helping annualize tourism, as is a new “Phuket Green Island” sustainability drive that has changed the islands waste management attitudes. Banana Walk is a supporter of the Phuket’s local Government ban on all single use plastic bags starting from the King’s birthday on December 5, 2011.
Banana Walk is configured for 50 per cent core retail space and 50 per cent for food and beverage outlets. The anchor food and beverage outlet is Baitong Seafood, which is owned by the Banana Walk developers. The complex is separated into blocks A, B and C, each with three floors and a roof top area facing the inner courtyard and beach. Quality retailers are being invited to be represented in Banana Walk, which the developers foresee will become a new destination for shopping on Phuket for both locals and tourists.
Source: Property Report