Kitchener Complex gets makeover; Bras Basah Complex may follow

Kitchener Complex in Jalan Besar has been given the green light by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) for improvement works to be carried out, while Bras Basah Complex in the city centre is close to receiving the full support of its merchants.

Bras Basah Complex has seen better days. Once the go-to place for books and stationery, it now faces fierce competition from newer shopping centres.

Some shop owners said business has declined by as much as half over the years. Five stores closed down this year alone.

Tenants there have been waiting two years for upgrading works to start. It would be the first major facelift for Bras Basah Complex, since it was built in 1980.

Shop owners said they look forward to a new facade and a fresher look for the whole building that would hopefully draw in a new generation of book lovers.

Sung Jee Tong, chairman of the Bras Basah Complex Merchants’ Association, said: “After the upgrading, we hope that more people will know about Bras Basah Complex.

“If you go to China, in Beijing and Shanghai, they have these Book Cities. Hopefully in two years’ time, Bras Basah Complex will be something on par as Shanghai Book City or Beijing Book City. When we have tourists in Singapore, they will think of Bras Basah as the place to get books.”

In 2009, Bras Basah Complex was selected for upgrading under HDB’s Revitalization of Shops Scheme, which provides co-funding.

Shop owners will pay 50 per cent of the cost while HDB will bear the remaining 50 per cent or up to $20,000 per shop. For rental shops, HDB will bear 100 per cent of the upgrading cost or up to $40,000 per shop.

But the project stalled because some shop owners then, were reluctant to join the scheme.

Despite that, the merchants’ association said this time, it can convince the remaining 3 to 4 shops owners to sign up.

“We’ve had trouble contacting some owners as they are not local, but we understand there’s no major objection. Another issue has been financial difficulties. One or two have requested for a longer payment period,” explained Kwek Boon Watt, vice chairman of Bras Basah Complex Merchants’ Association.

He’s hoping that the S$8 million upgrading – which will include a new facade, lifts and staircases – can start after Chinese New Year.

The merchants’ association said the upgrading work will be carried out in phases over a year to minimise disruption to business. Shops will stay open throughout the upgrading.

Kitchener Complex is also set to receive a fresh lease of life. HDB said it will give the 25-year-old building an extensive makeover to transform it into a lifestyle hub.

Kitchener Complex comprises two blocks, Block 808 and 809, and is located at the junction of Horne Road and French Road.

Residents from nearby HDB blocks and condominiums can look forward to a wider range of shops – including a new childcare centre and supermarket.

The makeover is expected to start in the second quarter of next year and be completed by 2013.

To date, HDB has upgraded four commercial buildings – Joo Chiat Complex, People’s Park Complex, Yew Tee Shopping Centre and Gek Poh Shopping Centre.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 4 Nov 2011

Join The Discussion

Compare listings