Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tekka Centre reopens

After a 14-month facelift costing $10 million, it is pulling in the crowds

The couple have been regular visitors for more than 20 years and they made sure they turned up yesterday for the reopening of Tekka Centre.

'The lighting is better and there are covered walkways to provide shelter from the rain,' said Mr Zulkepli Md Kassim, a senior draftsman who came to buy groceries with his wife.

Tekka Centre at Block 665, Buffalo Road, had undergone a 14-month facelift costing $10 million.

When The Sunday Times turned up at 11am, the wet market was a hive of activity while half the cooked-food stalls were still shuttered.

'Business has been quite good, with a lot of my regular customers returning,' said Mr Roger Ong, owner of a poultry meat stall.

'The stall positions now are also similar to the old market's, so it's easy for them to find us. The passageways are wider and the place is also cleaner.'

Mr Ong, 40, pays less than $100 a month in rent.

He and other stallowners had relocated to nearby temporary premises while the centre was upgraded.

Other customers interviewed also noted that the place is more spacious and well-ventilated.

However, the reopening has not been entirely glitch-free.

The escalators leading to the stalls upstairs, which sell items like clothing and antiques, were not yet in operation by noon.

There was a large pile of rubbish at the loading bay near the wet market. And there were complaints of a foul smell from an unoccupied stall.

'Some of the hawkers told me they were surprised the health inspectors didn't notice anything when they came earlier today,' said a stall owner who declined to give his name.

'They think that the smell of decay is caused by drainage problems and an unused freezer brought over from the old market.'

Several tenants note that their stalls are slightly smaller. 'There are fewer tables outside my stall now, and the guidelines about leaving goods outside our stall are very strict,' grumbled the owner of a fruit juice stall who also declined to give his name.

Source: Sunday Times, 1 Aug 2009

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