Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spruce-ups for malls

The new malls are not having it all their own way. Popular but older malls are renovating to give the newbies a run for their money.

Undergoing a spruce-up are Raffles City Shopping Centre and Takashimaya Department Store.

At Raffles City, renovations started last month on its first basement to make way for new retail and F&B offerings.

There will also be a direct underground link from the mall’s second basement to the upcoming Esplanade MRT station. The link is expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year.

Raffles City’s general manager Margaret Khoo explains: ‘It will create a seamless flow between the two basements and provide access to both City Hall MRT station and the upcoming Esplanade MRT station in air-conditioned comfort.’

Shoppers can expect a ‘greatly improved’ tenant mix – news that engineer Adeline Chan, 35, is excited about: ‘I work around the area so I’m glad that there will be more shops. Hopefully they will bring in some shops that are new to Singapore.’

Along Orchard Road, Takashimaya’s food village has been undergoing upgrading since Feb 23.

A Takashimaya spokesman says: ‘Some of the existing stalls have made way for more seating areas. Each store is also decorated with tiles to give a different look. Customers can feel like they are walking down a ‘makan street’ instead of a traditional food court.’

Other malls slated for renovation include The Atrium@Orchard, which is next to Plaza Singapura at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station.

CapitaMall Trust, which owns 14 shopping malls in Singapore including Jurong Entertainment Centre, has said there are plans to convert the offices into more retail space.

Farther away in Jurong East, a new construction is arising on the site of the former Jurong Entertainment Centre that will consist of a five-storey shopping complex with a three-level basement.

An Olympic-size ice-skating rink will replace the smaller one operated by Fuji Ice Palace. There will also be a supermarket, restaurants, shops and a multi-screen cinema in the 29,433 sq m building.

The shopping mall was closed for redevelopment in 2008 and demolished last year. It is due to be completed in the first quarter of 2012, says Mr Simon Ho, CEO of CapitaMall Trust Management.

Looking forward to the return of the ice-skating rink is 20-year-old student Tan Yi Ning.

She says: ‘My friends and I were very upset when it closed, since we liked to hang out there. We’ll be the first ones there when it reopens.’

Source: Sunday Times, 4 Apr 2010

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