Reminiscing and Envisioning Megabangna: A decade-long history of the ‘dark horse’ of Thailand’s retail business and its new milestone to create one of Eastern Bangkok’s most anticipated mixed-use developments 
By Palinee Kongchansiri, President of Shopping Centre

The Great Meeting Place of Bangkok Eastern Territory: The Beginning 
Megabangna was conceived as a joint collaboration between two retail magnates from two different parts of the world, Sweden’s Ikano Retail Asia Company Limited, the owner of the world-renowned IKEA brand, and Thailand’s Siam Future Development Public Company Limited. The two companies share a similar business approach and belief in the creation of meeting places for people and community. With this shared vision, the two collaborators join forces to build the unprecedented ‘New Retail Destination’ on the 200-rai land (79 acres) property on Bangna–Trat Road, bringing Southeast Asia’s largest Low-rise shopping centre to life, here, in Thailand.
Looking back, the idea was incredibly challenging for everyone involved. To propose a Low-rise retail concept for tenants and shoppers in Thailand a decade ago, in the time when the country had never seen a Low-rise shopping centre with such a large, regional scale as Megabangna before seemed like a formidable quest. At the time, most shopping centre in Thailand were High-rise buildings, each floor offering specific category of products with the main plaza around the perimeter, a tried-and-true formula for shopping centre of that era.
This is how Megabangna stands out, Low-rise architecture ease the process of store’s navigation. Pick a starting spot and one can get through the whole area without much of a hassle. The oval shape of the structure also helps present the storefronts to the customers while they are strolling and shopping from one place to the next. Additionally, our building only has two floors, having the customers spread out evenly between the first and second floor urges them to do the shopping round no matter where the stores are located. The problem, which persists in shopping centre that of multiples floors, is how customers rarely visit the upper levels.
The Largest Low-rise Super Regional Mall like Megabangna is the showcase on how visionary its founders are. Both stakeholders are ahead of their time regarding how they create a new way of building shopping centre. In conjunction with the dawn of urbanization in Bangkok at the time where the inner city was crowded with office buildings, shopping centre and department stores and residential condominiums. An urban expansion starts its sprawl to each and every corner of the city, to paint a picture of this area in 2012 would be a lot of empty plots of land – housing estates here and there but not as prevalent as today’s time – condominiums weren’t this ubiquitous except for those that stuck to the BTS sky train’s routes. Everyone would found it hard to believe that a gigantic shopping centre that covers over 400,000 square meters would be opening itself up on Bangna-Trat road, around Bangkok Eastern outskirts of Bang Phli. No one would have any idea how that will work out as for most people, Megabangna’s location 10 years ago was a far cry from central Bangkok and city centre. The place had little to no access to mass transit, which was quite a challenge for most people when no access to an easy commute was a concern.

Over the decade, we amused ourselves by overcoming problems and challenges that come in all shapes and sizes. Megabangna stands as a proof of our vision, vision that does not exist only on papers but can be well realized. In the age of digital disruption, many believe that online shopping platforms where customers are granted the convenience to shop practically anytime, anywhere will replace conventional brick and mortar stores. Despite that Megabangna is still warmly supported by our patrons for we can respond to our customer needs in every which way. We keep ourselves updated with our tenant mixed and the latest trends, renovate the space to deliver an experience you cannot find anywhere else, incorporate ‘green zone’ with shopping area harmoniously. 
         Megabangna has 5 main ‘anchors’. IKEA, Central@Megabangna, Mega Cineplex Cinemas, Big C and HomePro. These 5 anchors can response to any customer groups’ specific needs, from furniture and home decorating items, everyday grocery products, fashion and beauty brands to office supplies and tools and equipment for home improvement and maintenance. We also house 15 cinemas, a bowling centre and a karaoke complex. These 5 anchors, chosen with our intention of turning the project into ‘A Shopping Centre For The Many People’, have been with Megabangna since the beginning in 2012 until now. They are our most important allies who have embarked on this great journey with us from the very start. 
The success of Megabangna in the past ten years is evident and measurable from the number of the average 48 million visitors per year. In total, Megabangna has accommodated over 500 million visitors and 900 tenants. We have welcomed new tenants and partners to keep the services and shopping experiences we offer our customers fresh and new. Our spaces have 100% occupancy rate, and been fully rented from the very beginning and even through the pandemic. Megabangna is also a significant part in the origin story of IKEA as the place where the brand opened its first store in Thailand back in 2011. The arrival of IKEA stores was a phenomenon in Thailand’s furniture industry, especially with the global brand’s decision to open a store within Megabangna’s periphery. 
Megabangna’s contribution to the strength of the surrounding communities and neighborhood can be seen from how our existence and operations has created over 5,000 jobs over the past ten years. We also plays an important part in the significant growth of the real-estate development in the Eastern Bangkok area as well as Samut Prakan province with several new housing estate and condominium projects blossoming after our arrival. 

Your Everyday Meeting Place
         We intend to create Megabangna into an everyday meeting place for all, and one of our main objectives is to become a ‘community-centric’ establishment with community space created for people who live in the surrounding communities. We did an in-depth study and research from the very beginning of Megabangna with the goal to transform the 400-rai land (158 acres) into a mixed-use project with diverse functionalities. We have worked on new additions over time, such as the expansion of the FoodWalk zone, which allows us to bring in 30-40 new restaurants to our project or the construction of a parking building that can accommodate over 1,200 vehicles. In 2018, we opened D-PREP (Didyasarin International Preparatory School Bangkok) as a part of our learning space. In 2019, the Mega Park project was born as the first public park inside a shopping centre, serving as a massive green space for the area. The park is open for everyone to use, free of charge. We also add the Mega Smart Kids to our program with Harborland Group as our partner, and together ended up creating the largest indoor playground in the country at the time. Later in 2020, when COVID-19 hit Thailand in full force, and the government’s policy caused people to stay at home, we spent that time renovating the new play areas. This mid-pandemic project, which later becomes one of our proudest achievements, is called Stream Valley and Sand Dune, the playgrounds curated to have beautiful, nature-inspired programs and landscapes. After the lockdown measures have been eased off and people are allowed to return to their normal life and use public spaces, the two zones have become highly popular among children. Every development we have done with Megabangna has truly turned the shopping centre into a space for all, just like what we had envisioned and intended. As a testament of our vision and endeavor, Megabangna received prestigious awards from Architizer A+ Awards 2018 and World Architecture Festival 2018 for its incredible program that beautifully and purposefully combines architectural functionality and aesthetics to the green element of nature. While everything reflects our determination and success to create a true meeting place, what’s even more important is how these achievements are reflective of our effort of wanting to create the best possible experiences for customers of all ages and genders, which is something we cherish more than any other successes. 

From Megabangna to Megacity
A decade had passed in the blink of an eye and we continue to follow the plan of becoming a mixed-use project that offers so much more than just a normal shopping centre. The ‘Megacity’ we are building will make the best use out of almost 100-rai land (40 acres) we still have in our hands. The continual urban expansion has made Bangna and Bang Pli into relatively urbanized areas instead of the distanced suburbs they once were ten years ago with housing estate and condominium projects mushrooming. Not only that, the population residing in Eastern Bangkok area has high purchasing power while the commute in the eastern Bangkok is becoming more convenient with the imminent completion of BTS’s Yellow line. The future plan also includes the Light Rail, a new airport rail link connecting the Yellow Line to Suvarnabhumi Airport, which will run pass the front of our project. All these factors collectively complement Megacity project to become a space of incredible potential, packed with premium quality facilities with Megabangna as the centerpiece of the city.

The plan we have for Megacity is set into motion after the completion of the Mega FoodWalk zone. In late 2020, we opened the construction of an additional
parking building that can accommodate 2,000 vehicles. Later in 2021, 
Mega Space1 Co., Ltd. was handing over the completed condominium project
A-Space Mega, the first condominium project in Megacity, while the second project planned to complete in 2023. 

What has us particularly excited for this year is our new partner who will bring a large-scale Sport & Entertainment Complex from the United States, Topgolf Megacity, to Bangkok. This leading sports complex brand with over 70 branches in the United States alone will open its first branch in Southeast Asia in September of 2022. What’s special about Topgolf is it will offer not just a high-standard golfing centre, but a space for everyone who may not be a golf enthusiast to enjoy their state-of-the-art facilities, including brand new technologies such as the micro-shipped golf balls that will show a player the exact distance and precision of the ball. The project will also include a full-on entertainment spaces from a sports bar to restaurants, making this sport & entertainment complex a destination everyone can enjoy. 
Our long-term Master Plan also includes our future collaborations with different brands and entrepreneurs to bring hotels of different scales and types to the project. The three to four hotels that will be situated inside Megacity will consist of a business hotel for business travelers, a five-starred hotel and a family hotel. 

With Megacity being a massive mixed-use project on the expansive 400-rai land (158 acres), our intention is to create a city that is filled with a variety of projects for our customers to fully enjoy their time and experiences here. Our program is developed to response to every demand and lifestyle of our potential customers, and stay up to date to all their needs with a comprehensive range of products and services while still offering something unique and distinctive that is reflective of one’s individuality. This will be the place where one can enjoy a time on their own while still being able to spend a quality time with their family despite the hectic lifestyle they lead. This is the place where technologies are designed to deliver the best possible convenience while still being conscious about the environment. A significant part of our concept is to integrate green, natural spaces into the lifestyle of urban dwellers, who despite being surrounded by a concrete jungle, still long for a touch of nature. People’s lifestyles, and continually changing needs and demands will be a crucial part of the future developments of this project, all to make Magacity and Megabangna become a true everyday meeting place for all. 

A Shopping Centre’s Strategy on the Road to Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Operation
Ever since the launch of Megabangna 10 years ago, and the opening of Megacity that follows, one of the things we have always prioritized is to create a shopping centre with Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Operation. Every project and operation we have done have factored the expansion of green spaces, and sustainable and power-saving operations. The project was equipped with solar cell panels since 2012 to replace the use of electricity with solar power, along with the incorporation of chiller optimization system initiated back in 2015, which together result in the air conditioning system consuming 20% less electricity. 

This year, we are planning to install 17,000 solar cell panels, covering the entire 60,000 square meter surface of the shopping centre building. The solar panels will produce the maximum solar power of 13 million kWh per year, which is equivalent to the power consumption of 9,000 households. The project’s use of solar power will reduce carbon dioxide emission, one of the causes of the green house effect, up to 8.3 million kilograms per year. 

         Waste water treatment is perceived as one of our priority matters. The first Waste Water Treatment Plant has been serving the centre for years until the study in 2017 confirmed that it might not be sufficient and able to accommodate the additonal expansions within Megacity. The newly-built Waste Water Treatment Plant to serve our future expansion utilizes the chemical-free membrane technology used in drinking water filtration system. The treated water will be a good enough quality for watering plants and cleaning inside the shopping centre. The pond underwent the test run in April of this year, and we deliberately open the system for the general public or individuals who are interested in the water treatment process to take a closer look at how it’s operated through the transparent glass built by the pond. 
One of our plans includes the building of a chiller plant to reduce power consumption of the project’s air conditioning system. Our goal is the make Magacity the most energy-saving project with the most efficient use of resources, including the opening of 7-rai land (2.7 acres) Mega Park to be the new green space of the Bangna area, and a free public park that opens for all.

All of this is merely a part of our attempt the make Megacity a true environment town in every aspect possible; walking a path of sustainability to celebrate our decade-long journey with the community we are a part of. We believe that Megacity will continue to evolve and develop, elevating people’s quality of life for the better in the long future to come.

MR. Christian Roejkjaer
CEO Ikano Retail

I remember many years ago when we drove around Bangkok looking for a perfect location for a retail space. The idea was to go BIG while keeping it a cosy, Low-rise destination that would offer the best day out in Bangkok for the many. An attractive space that everyone would want to visit. And we knew that we had something no other location would have – Thailand’s first IKEA store as its main anchor.
Ten years on, that once vacant piece of land in the suburbs of Samut
Prakan in Eastern Bangkok has transformed into Megabangna. It has become a destination where our tenant partners and their 900 stores give Megabangna its winning personality – a Meeting Place bringing surrounding communities together.
What were the success factors?
Firstly, we wanted Megabangna to be the best it could be for Bangkok. We had to create something really special, from one-stop-shopping to F&B, and to sprawling community spaces that could host a variety of events.
Secondly, we never “leaned back” to enjoy success. Instead, we involved our customers and tenant partners to help us define how we could renew and improve, and we responded to their feedback with fresh new developments and larger offerings. 

A big thanks to all
         For this, we are incredibly grateful to the  Since day one, Megabangna has been a catalyst for growth and progress in the catchment area. We are excited to continue this journey with the Megacity development that will redefine the way families and friends live, work, play, shop, eat and spend time with one another.
Big congratulations on the 10-year anniversary. Our vision of creating a better life for the many people in Bangkok is truly becoming a reality! 

Ms. Wallaya Chirathivat
President and CEO of Central Pattana Plc.

Central Pattana’s business vision and ambition to build this Meeting Place.
         On behalf of Central Pattana, a joint venture partner in Megabangna project, I would like to congratulate Megabangna for reaching the 10th anniversary of business operations. Over a decade of success, Megabangna has reached a number of milestones in the retail industry, including the global partnership with Ikano, the operator of IKEA Thailand and has launched its Thailand’s first store.

         Since the opening, Megabangna has always been received such great feedbacks from partners, tenants and customers. As a Super Regional Mall, Megabangna has not only lifted up the people’s quality of life but also pioneered Bangkok’s retail landscape, particularly the expanding of high-end residential areas in Eastern Bangkok.  Megabangna has been playing a key role in supporting the growth and developing the potential of this area.

         Megabangna and Central Pattana practically share the same goals and approaches in conducting our businesses.  Central Pattana is committed to create ‘Center of Life’ for communities, while Megabangna seeks to be the ‘Meeting Place’ for everyone in the family. We both strive to create innovations continuously and offer a wide range selection of products and services to cater to all lifestyles and to ensure the best and the happiest experiences for customers.

I truly believe Megabangna will continue to grow and succeed as it always has, and Central Pattana, as a supportive joint venture partner, will continue to reinforce Megabangna to reach the next level of success.