TAIPEI (CNA) — The 12-story Core Pacific City shopping mall in Taipei turned off its lights floor by floor on Thursday night to symbolize its closure after 18 years of business in the city.
The enterprise, also known as Living Mall, will officially close its doors on Saturday, and the iconic granite-clad building on Bade Road will be torn down to make way for a brand new office complex.
Speaking at the lights-out ceremony on Thursday night, Shen Ching-ching (沈慶京), chairman of the Core Pacific Group (CPG) that owns the mall, said he was deeply saddened to have to make such a decision but had no choice because of a huge operating deficit.
The total losses of the business were NT$18 billion (US$581 million) as of 2018, he said, apologizing to the company’s shareholders and the mall’s long-term customers.
“The closing of the mall symbolizes the disillusion of a dream of mine,” the-72-year-old tycoon said, with tears in his eyes.
After the formal closure on Nov. 30, some of the mall’s 120 employees will retire, while others will be reassigned to other CPG businesses, according to Shen.
He said the office complex that will replace the mall will be beautiful and comfortable.
When Core Pacific first opened in November 2001 in Taipei’s Songshan District, it was said to be the biggest shopping mall in Taiwan at the time, with 62,000 pings (204,600 square meters) of floor space — 12 stories above ground and eight levels underground.
The mall started off as a 24-hour operation, 7 days a week, pulling in revenue of NT$8 billion in its first year.
Over the years, however, it lost customers, due mainly to the distance from an MRT station and the growing popularity of the Xinyi District shopping area, according to real estate broker Jessica Hsu (徐佳馨).
Faced with a huge deficient, CPG began in December 2018 to seek a buyer for the complex, which was priced at NT$38 billion but later lowered to NT$34.2 billion.
The complex was finally sold in September to CPG affiliate China Petrochemical Development Corp. at a price of NT$37.2 billion.
CPDC plans to tear down Living Mall next year and construct an office complex that is scheduled to be opened in 2022.