Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Specialists' Shopping Centre

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Opening  1972
Management  OCBC Bank
Opened  1972
Demolished  2008
Closed  2008
Developer  OCBC Bank
Floor area  1,423 m²
Specialists' Shopping Centre httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Location  277 Orchard Road, Orchard Planning Area, Singapore
Floor count  6 storeys + basement + 20 storey hotel
Owner  White Sands Shopping Centre
Similar  Scotts Shopping Centre, ERA Centre, Jubilee Square, Stamford House - Singapore, The Majestic - Singapore

The Specialists' Shopping Centre (Chinese: 专业购物中心) was the oldest shopping centre on Orchard Road, a shopping area of Singapore. The mall was originally named Specialists due to the concentration of medical specialists in its early days. It was constructed in the early to mid-1970s. The largest tenant was the Hotel Phoenix Singapore and John Little. The Visitor's Guide of Singapore described the shopping centre as "revered". However, the Specialists' Shopping Centre along with the Hotel Phoenix Singapore had been demolished to make way for newer developments in 2008.

Contents

Stores

The John Little store was Singapore's oldest department store. The store opened in 1845 in Raffles Place. The main store was in the Specialists' Shopping Centre although there were four branch stores. The store is no longer in Raffles Place. Guidebooks refer to the prices as "very up-to-date" or reasonable. The John Little store displayed bargain goods in the outdoor sections of the ground floor.

Specialty goods including, but not limited to Famous Amos cookies, winter clothing, and golf equipment are available. Leather goods, tools, household items, and a Korean restaurant are also located in the shopping centre. A Starbucks cafe was located in the shopping centre. A branch of the OCBC Bank was also located in the shopping centre.

Above the shopping centre was the Hotel Phoenix Singapore, a "superior 4-star hotel" with 392 rooms. The hotel was unique among hotels in that it offers an Intelligent Keycard which allows prepaid access to the bus and MRT system equivalent to the EZ-Link card. As such, patrons were given the same EZ-link discount fares. The Intelligent Keycard also acted as one's hotel room key. No other hotel was participating in this scheme though it may change in the future.

Redevelopment

As one of the smaller shopping centres in Orchard Road and located adjacent to vacant land used for a car park, the property was slated for redevelopment. It was reported that the shopping centre may be vacated by the middle of 2007. One of the requirements that must be overcome by receiving an exemption was the height limitation of 16 storeys for the site. The OCBC Bank, as one of the owners of the property, had restrictions in development. The Banking Amendment Regulations (2004) restricted demolition and rebuilding of structures to more than 20% larger Redevlopment plans had to include a hotel as hotel use was safeguarded by the authorities. Speculation regarding the site's redevelopment had been ongoing for several years and included connecting a redeveloped site with The Centrepoint, a shopping centre across the road and owned by the same owners as the Specialists' Shopping Centre.

On 9 July 2007, John Little closed its branch at the Specialists' Shopping Centre, after operating for more than 20 years. In 2008, the shopping centre was demolished to make way for newer developments because it was surrounded by Orchard Central and 313 @ Somerset sites. Demolition began on 1 January 2008 and ended on 20 March 2008. Part of Specialists' Shopping Centre is used for Orchard Gateway development works which started in 2011.

References

Specialists' Shopping Centre Wikipedia


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