Shinsegae is bringing Starfield to ChangwonShinsegae Group announced plans on Sunday to build a Starfield mall in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, the company’s first Starfield location outside the Seoul metropolitan area.
Shinsegae Property, the affiliate in charge of land development, is applying for a permit to build the mall, according to industry sources.
Last April, the company bought 34,000 square meters (8 acres) of land previously used by the Korean Army. The mall is expected to measure around 300,000 square meters.
The company has not yet determined an opening date.
As with previous Starfield malls, the Changwon location is expected to include an array of entertainment and leisure facilities on top of shopping. Given its location on the southeastern coast, the mall will likely turn into a hub for neighboring cities like Busan and Gimhae.
Changwon is one of the largest cities in the region with a population of over one million. The Jung-dong area, where the mall is set to be built, is surrounded by apartment complexes.
Residents, though, have been mixed about Starfield’s arrival ever since Shinsegae began surreptitiously purchasing land in the area last year without disclosing plans for its use. Small merchants, especially, have expressed concern that the mall will lure away customers.
Around 1,000 residents who support Starfield’s construction have formed an online community supporting it. They argue convenience for consumers should come first in discussions, and they ought to “have the right to enjoy entertainment and leisure activities close to home.”
Starfield is a chain of malls built by Shinsegae that includes entertainment facilities like extreme sports centers and playgrounds.
The first location opened in Hanam, Gyeonggi, last June, and sales for this year are expected to reach 850 billion won ($780 million).
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [email@example.com]