KUCHING: The rebranding process of The Hills is a necessary step towards creating a workplace community and lifestyle support whereby the local community can grow together.
According to chief operating officer Lionel Ho, its official rebranding process announced earlier this month signified the group’s seriousness in revitalising the city centre.
“It was a challenge to undertake this as retail space is dying and reviving the city centre is fairly close to my heart,” he said in an interview with The Borneo Post. “I hope to see the city centre revived back to its former glory.
“The objective, ultimately, is to create a community of city dwellers for business professionals to find a safe haven to network and mingle with one another.
“From looking at trends overseas we can see that the shopping mall concept is phasing out. If you look at America the largest mall in America called Mall of America in Minnesota, an American icon of shopaholics, closed down.
“Even in China, you see many malls turning into abandon buildings and the numbers are rising. To me, that’s a clear sign that retail shopping is slowly phasing out.”
As to why the group chose to enter the co-working space industry, Ho said it made sense to simplify office space offerings which can get quite expensive for businesses, especially start-ups.
“To me, if you are a medium to big business owner and don’t want to have to worry about the operations of an office, it makes perfect sense to go into co-working space.
“You don’t have to worry about security, to stock up on your pantry, hire a dedicated cleaner for your office or pay rental/buy a photocopy machine – this is all taken care of in the co-working space.”
The co-working space culture, he added, is about sharing your ideas, values, ideology and networking or leveraging on each other’s platform.
By creating a community of people sharing and learning on each other’s experiences, this will encourage accelerated growth.
“On top of that, having a space right smack in the middle of the city would be any business owner’s dream to have,” he said, referring to The Hills’ location at the top of the Bukit Mata and adjacent to Pullman Hotel Kuching.
“In any business you do, it is about building good relationships and that is the foundation of a good business, what relationships are built into mini ecosystems for businesses and would further become a community just like an organisation.
“At the end of the day, when you see small businesses flourish into medium size businesses there is a sense of fulfilment and joy to see others grow right beside you.”
Ho further believed that a co-working space would add value to the community surrounding it and also to Pullman Hotel which is directly above The Hills.
When asked about their future plans, the chief operating officer detailled their upcoming phases.
“Our first phase is to ensure a smooth opening for our food court called Food Haven that will be open on December 28,” he said.
“Further enhancing it would be The Food Lounge which consist of stalls offering confectionaries, coffee, pastries, cakes, juices and such, targeted towards casual business meetings looking for a casual and comfortable space.
“Our second phase would be the co-working space which would further enhance the business professionals networking and creating workshops or seminars to add to their soft skills.
“Also not forgetting it’s not all work at The Hills as we have the wellness/fitness side of things that is where Alti-Dude Climbing Gym will be offering bouldering, wall climbing and also excursions to climb caves in the outdoors.
“Studio 8 is also part of the wellness/fitness whereby we have a ready studio and a platform for fitness instructors to rent slots to do their classes at our premises, which we feel is part of building the community.