AFTER much delay, construction of a new mall on the site of the former Jurong Entertainment Centre has started. It is one of several heartland malls opening in the next two years.
Work on the $200 million mall, owned by CapitaMall Trust and managed by CapitaMalls Asia, was stalled in 2008 as high construction costs and the competitive market for resources crippled the building industry here.
Looking back, the unforeseen deferment was perhaps a blessing in disguise, said chief executive of CapitaMall Trust Management, Mr Simon Ho, who added that the 'financial crisis had yet to wreak its full fury then'.
The opening of the mall, in the first quarter of 2012, will be timely because as it is, 'the overall economic outlook is more positive now, there is stronger consumer confidence and people are spending again', said Mr Ho, speaking at the mall's ground-breaking ceremony yesterday.
The new mall, named JCube, will have a net lettable area of 204,000 sq ft - double the size of the original mall - with a rooftop garden, an Olympic-size 30m by 60m ice-skating rink and a multiplex cinema. It is also likely to open till late, or even operate 24 hours, to meet the demands of shift workers in the area, said Mr Ho.
Its facade will resemble a glistening ice cube.
The eco-friendly mall, which features a rainwater harvesting tank and recycled water for its ice rink, joins a number of suburban malls opening in the next few years.
Frasers Centrepoint Malls' 81,000 sq ft Bedok Point will open in the fourth quarter of this year, Serangoon Central's 600,000 sq ft mall, nex, will open next March and the 190,000 sq ft Clementi Mall will open early next year.
Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for National Development and Education and an MP for Jurong GRC, said the JCube mall would provide a lot of new options to residents in the Jurong area. Residents, she said, have been 'eagerly waiting for the new mall to open'.
They were not the only ones.
The mall's opening has also been long anticipated by the Singapore Ice Skating Association, which cannot become a member of the International Skating Union (ISU) without an Olympic-size facility for use.
Singapore must be an ISU member for Singaporeans to compete in events like the Olympics and World Championships.
Source: Straits Times, 22 May 2010