CapitaLand to manage Bugis Village and Bugis Street
Bugis Village and Bugis Street, Singapore's largest street market that in recent years has reported dwindling footfall, is getting a revamp.
From April 1, mall developer CapitaLand will take over the management of both after winning a joint tender for their integrated management, in a move announced by the Singapore Land Authority on Wednesday.
As the new manager, Capitaland yesterday said that it will build on the old while celebrating the new, and it has plans to utilise the existing shophouses and spiral staircases, which are already popular photograph spots, to boost the Instagrammable profile of the area.
Jointly awarded by the Singapore Land Authority, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the award grants Singapore's biggest landlord an initial tenancy term of three years.
It may be renewed for a further two three-year terms, and a final one not extending beyond March 30, 2030.
Known among locals and tourists for its unique blend of independent retailers, juice stalls and kitschy souvenir shops, Bugis Village and Bugis Street are located near Bugis MRT station, adjacent to malls like Bugis Junction and Bugis+, both of which are operated by CapitaLand.
Among the tentative proposals are installing colourful container boxes, creating open spaces which could serve as retail incubators for established brands and local start-ups, and a Singaporean and South-east Asian hawker food hub.
A CapitaLand spokesman said the developer also hopes to restore the "eclectic old-world charm of Bugis Street".
"CapitaLand will be introducing a modern interpretation of Bugis' street-market concept, while celebrating the iconic architecture of the shophouses.
"Together with curated retail concepts and public spaces, we want to create a vibrant experience for both locals and tourists... We will also explore hosting marquee events such as programmes, exhibitions and events celebrating heritage, youth, and the arts community which are unique and distinct to the Bugis precinct," the spokesman said.
But some shoppers and tenants contacted by The Straits Times were concerned that an experienced mall developer could lead to smaller shops being squeezed out from the area as rents and prices are raised.
There were also concerns that the area could become just another cookie-cutter mall, given that CapitaLand already manages 22 malls in the country.
To allay the concern, the company said that an overhaul of the market need not mean clearing out existing tenants if they are open to new ideas.
Its spokesman said: "We look forward to working with interested retailers, both existing and new, to bring in offerings that are in line with our positioning for the integrated Bugis Village and Bugis Street property."