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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Revamp will link Shaw Centre to Shaw House

Facelift will help integrate neighbours, linking them with basement foodcourt
The Straits Times - February 25, 2013
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Revamp will link Shaw Centre to Shaw House

ONGOING renovations to the 41-year-old Shaw Centre will integrate it better with its 20-year-old neighbour, Shaw House.

The ceiling heights of the various floors in the older building will be changed and renumbered to make them level with those of Shaw House, said the buildings' owner, Shaw Brothers, yesterday.

The buildings will be linked by a new basement food court. Shaw Centre will also be linked to Pacific Plaza across Claymore Hill road by a covered walkway.

Shaw Centre, undergoing its first facelift since it was built, will also have a new two-storey-high floor-to-ceiling glass facade by the time the transformation is completed, probably in March next year.

The Shaw House building is not being renovated but the terraced public concourse in front of it will be levelled. A 1,000 sq m Urban Plaza with water features will be built on top.

The area is being renovated with an eye towards using it for red carpet events such as film premieres, said a Shaw Brothers spokesman.

In the meantime, all the tenants of Shaw Centre have moved out except for the Les Amis group of restaurants, which are still in operation.

While the final mix of new tenants has not been finalised yet, Mr Mark Shaw, executive vice-president of operations of Shaw Organisation, said the plan was to have a few new international brands locate their flagship stores at Shaw Centre.

The management also intends to align Shaw Centre's positioning and target audience with that of Shaw Theatres Lido, giving people something to do before and after a movie, said Mr Christopher Shaw, executive vice-president of film distribution.

Retail expert Sarah Lim said the revamp was long overdue, given the frenetic pace of renewal on Singapore's premier shopping strip. "If you look at the landscape in Orchard Road, it's obvious they need to do it. Some shopping centres like Plaza Singapura and Paragon have gone through revamps more than once," said the senior retail lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic.

Ms Lim noted that competition was fierce, given that there were newer malls like Ion Orchard and Somerset 313 nearby. "Even Wheelock Place, without a revamp, has added new tenants and made itself more vibrant," she said of the mall, which is across the road from Shaw House.

It is a good idea to align the target audience with that of the movie theatre, as the Lido cinema is a strong anchor tenant, she said.

Public relations executive Sarah Swee, who shops at Ion Orchard and Orchard Central, said she rarely visits Shaw House and Shaw Centre.

"I only go there to watch movies, honestly. The layout is such that I make a beeline to the top, watch my movie and leave," she said.

She said she would check out the revamped complex, "especially if they have interesting new brands".

Mr John Wang, owner of The Ship Restaurant, which was in Shaw Centre for 30 years, said it planned to return. "The building itself is pretty old, and there are a lot of new buildings coming up in the Orchard area, so it's high time for the revamp," he said. "We have been there for many years, and are excited to go back again."

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