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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

New adven-Ture hub

Rock-climb, sip gourmet coffee and learn to play the ukulele at lifestyle place Ture Kallang
The Straits Times - August 6, 2011
By: Chen Shanshan
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New adven-Ture hub Bouldering, where climbers go a short way over artificial rocks without being attached to a rope, is an activity offered at Climbers Laboratory at Ture Kallang. -- ST PHOTOS: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

A former industrial building in a secluded location in Kallang used for storing old motorcycles has been made over and is revving up a different vibe.

Now a lifestyle hub, Ture Kallang, it has breathed new life into the Kampong Bugis area with an eclectic mix of tenants that caters to a niche crowd.

Ture - short for nature, culture and adventure - quietly opened in late January and has attracted a following of coffee drinkers, ukulele players and even climbing enthusiasts.

That is thanks to gourmet coffee shop Loysel's Toy, ukulele school Ukulele Movement - the retro little instrument is riding a wave of hipness - and Climbers Laboratory, a sports outfit on the top two floors of the eight-storey building.

Ture's concept as 'an alternative lifestyle recreational building' was dreamt up early last year by landlord Javier Perez, owner of the main tenant, Italian-Japanese fusion restaurant Kilo, on the second floor. He used to run Raw Kitchen Bar at the old Bukit Timah Fire Station.

On its out-of-the-way location - it is sandwiched between Kallang Riverside Park and Kallang River - the 32-year-old Puerto Rican entrepreneur says: 'I thought of it as a cove, away from everything. I was just looking for recreational activities that are not so common.'

Visitors find that it is well worth the journey. 'We thought it would be some ulu place,' says designer Gobbs Lim, 37, who was visiting Ture for the first time with her colleague Vicki Lew, 30. 'But the location is very nice and quiet.'

But manager Robert Yeo, 63, a student at Ukulele Movement, who drives there for his weekly classes, says it is a challenge for people who take public transport. Still, a map check shows that Ture is only a five-minute walk from Lavender MRT station.

Most of the seven outlets have not used traditional forms of advertising, and instead relied on word of mouth. 'Everyone has his own following because many of the names here are quite established,' says Mr Perez, who closed Raw Kitchen Bar when Kilo opened.

For example, Mr Marcus Leong, 29, co-owner of Loysel's Toy, gets customers from sister company Papa Palheta in Bukit Timah Road, which sells only coffee beans.

Ukulele Movement and Climbers Laboratory say they have attracted customers from their other stores in Dunlop Street and Toh Guan Road East.

The only tenant whose business is only just picking up is Petite Papillon Playhouse, which runs a playschool and daycare centre on the third floor.

Although it opened in March, playhouse consultant Wendy Tee, 36, notes: 'Initially there was a lot of noise from other tenants moving in, so we couldn't start the playschool.'

But as word gets around, things are picking up. Petite Papillon, which opened its playschool programme last month, now has five students, while the 40-seat Kilo serves almost full houses on most nights.

Loysel's Toy, which remains the top crowd- puller, also sees about 100 people on a weekday, twice the number when it first started.

Mrs Careena Ho, who visits Loysel's Toy almost every week for its blueberry cheesecake and lattes, says: 'I actually like that it's not readily accessible.'

The self-employed 36-year-old notes that the place has become more crowded since her first visit three months ago.

On whether the increasing crowds would threaten the place's serenity, she says: 'I'm sure it will be, some day. But I will still come here for the coffee and cake.'



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