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[Mallcore]: 3 New Malls: The Central, Greenland Bund, and Xintiandi Hongkou

The latest in concrete and glass…
2021-11-30 17:00:00
Photos: Angela Leung
"Mallcore" is a series of columns in which SmSh writers explore the many gigantic and baffling shopping malls and complexes in this gigantic and baffling city, and then let us know about the fantastic, wondrous and / or shocking and terrible things in them, preferably from a Ballardian, dystopian, existentialist quagmire sort of perspective that cries out in agony about the disenfranchisement of the modern human condition.

Forever onward with that urban expansion. Here's not one, not two, but three newly opened malls – the existence thereof you can slot into your consciousness if you'd like.

TL:DR – there might be a new Peet's that opened in your neighborhood that makes life just a little bit more convenient…



The Central

What Is It:

At the crossroads of Nanjing Dong Lu and Sichuan Zhong Lu stands this recently opened shopping complex, The Central. It's a few minutes from the metro station, surrounded by a load of retailers and stores along the Nanjing Lu pedestrian street.

Technically, it's not new – it's a renovation project of four historical buildings (Central Mansion; Meilun Building; Huaqiao Building; Xinkang Building) which used to be small shops and marketplaces. Real classic "Old Shanghai" vibes.

You know what they say: out with the Old…

What's In It:

At the moment, the redevelopment is still pretty empty and quiet. The space is open to public but only Central Mansion and Meilun Building are in operation with a limited number of retailers and F&B venues. Operating therein are import and homegrown chains: Peet's Coffee; Hai Di Lao Hot Pot; steakhouse Light & Salt Backstage. They've also got a bakery and a small beer vendor (Vedett). Not that exciting... The other two buildings will be finished next year.  Maybe those will attract interesting tenants looking for some tourist runoff from Nanjing Lu.

Architectural highlight? That would be the huge glass dome, which blasts light shows in the evening, and a LED screen with 3D videos on a loop. Very "New Shanghai". Like all the other malls in town, they're planning on hosting inscrutable music / culture events for people to stand next to and stare at.

Worth a Visit?

Umm. Good question! To be fair, the current combo of dining places is pretty… flavorless. And there's a lack of singular destination-type places you wouldn’t find in other spots around town. Jazz at Lincoln Center is there, but it has been for a while now. Maybe go for the light shows, then? Ehhh.

Or if you're walking around the area for a nighttime stroll you can stumble across this and think, "Huh. This wasn't here before."

And then grab a coffee or something.


Greenland Bund Center

What Is It:

Another new one in the Bund area. Situated right next to Dongjiadu Catholic Church on Zhongshan Nan Lu – which is the less busy end of the Bund – Greenland Bund is a new F&B complex that is self-consciously going heavy on an Italian theme – Italian cuisine, style, art, and culture. That's their angle: "Hey, Italian restaurants are popular right now – let's build a mall full of them." It's not open yet but the scaffolding is up and a few places are starting to move in.

Greenland Bund Center is a typical open-air design, which seems to be Shanghai's fav' these days. Layout is like The Roof and Taikoo Li – basically stairs, escalators, and walkways. The mall occupies five floors, including three levels above the ground and two basement floors, which host cafes, retails, dining spaces, as well as entertainment / lifestyle destinations. The terrace is home to Chinese fine-dining restaurant chains – Zhoushe, Jiangnan Talk, and others.

What's In It:

All Italian things. Well, mostly. We're still waiting to see how it turns out but in the "opening soon" phase already is Italian restaurant Cucina on the first floor, together with recently opened fancy lifestyle / homeware shop Casa Italia, and bistro J Stone on the second floor. The requisite mall coffee shops have already moved in: Starbucks, Lavazza, M Stand, Manner Coffee, and more. Those guys can open anywhere. Give 'em five minutes. Additionally, there’s a hair salon and a spa place on the second floor.

Worth a Visit?

Well, we love Italy and Italian food. So, more is better. "More" in Shanghai these days means you get a mall's worth of it. Is that a good thing? We'll have to wait and see. So far it looks like a quality mall with high-street cafes, high-end diners, and stylish shops.  We'll head back when it's open to check if they can attract some interesting tenants and create some atmosphere with the concept.


Xintiandi Hongkou

What Is It:

A "classic mall" – classic in the sense where it's just a big-ass building with lots of floors in it selling you stuff, stuff, and stuff.

Just off Linping Lu metro station along Line 4 is the new one-stop shopping center Xintiandi (Hongkou) AKA "Hall of the Sun", which is the complement to Hall of the Moon, located across the street. The two malls are now connected by the metro station and a bridge on the second floor.

Xintiandi Hongkou is not messing around, covering an area more than 180,000sqms, with eight floors in total, including a basement floor. Said floors are hosting various "social" concepts, including "Kids Social", "Sports Social", "Foodie Social", "Pet Social", and you get the idea.

Currently they are also having a free Harry Potter exhibition and a tiny, tiny pop-up store on the first floor. Nothing fancy but there you go.

What's In It:

Things you’d expect in a mall. Make-up shops, fashion retailers, shoe shops, a cinema – mall stuff. They've also got a huge MUJI Supermarket, a City Mart, and a Pain Chaud. Of note: bakery Le Pain de Palmier, which seems to have a connection with Jöel Robuchon.

Heading up to "Foodie Social" on the fifth to seventh floors, it's an F&B hub immersed in a modern, botanical garden type of deal with plants and natural light thanks to the huge, glass roof. It's not the worst place to take a break from the crushing consumerism. Plenty of food and drink choices including %Arabica, Birdie Cup Coffee, Dr. Curry, Green Common, and more.

Worth a Visit?

It's a decent mall with a variety of new and old names, ranging from eateries to fashion brands, and is probably the most comprehensive shopping complex in Hongkou. If you're living in the district this might be useful to you. Shop on, y'all.