Tenants upset over Thomson Plaza renovation works
Some say business has fallen and at least 20 retailers are leaving the mall
At least 20 retailers will vacate Thomson Plaza permanently as it undergoes major renovation works that started earlier this month and will last until the second quarter of next year.
The mall turns 40 this year. Parts of the first and third storeys are being renovated by one of its landlords, Mercatus Co-operative.
The mall is also managed by Knight Frank.
A Mercatus spokesman told The New Paper on June 27: "The renovation will provide shoppers with a holistic and comfortable shopping experience, in preparation for the improved connectivity from the upcoming MRT station at Upper Thomson."
In a statement to TNP, the Land Transport Authority said it was constructing an entrance at Upper Thomson station adjacent to Thomson Plaza. The new entrance is slated to open in tandem with the station in 2020 as part of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) Stage 2.
The TEL will have 32 stations and is 43km long. It will travel from Woodlands to Bedok.
Mr Siva Crakash, 33, branch manager of Home-Fix, found out only last month that his store had to leave Thomson Plaza on July 20. It has been there for 15 years.
He expressed his frustration at the lack of notice received.
He said: "They didn't give us enough time, and we just renovated. Business has been so bad since the renovation started, we earned only $200 on some days."
The mall's renovation come after the exit of Popular, which left last month due to lease issues after 31 years there.
At least 20 tenants out of 180, will not be returning, including Royal Sporting House and Wine Connection.
FairPrice Finest will remain after the renovation.
Some tenants are unhappy with the renovation, like the owner of shoe shop NTS Marketing, who wanted to be known only as Madam Tay. Her shop moved to the second storey from the third. NTS has been at Thomson Plaza for 20 years.
The 56-year-old said: "Business has not been good. Regulars don't know where we moved to and we have a smaller unit now, so we have to serve fewer people at one time."
But Ms Janice Teo, who works at Bengawan Solo and is in her 60s, said she was happy with the renovation.
"We will be moving downstairs. I am happy to because it'll mean more business."
Shoppers TNP spoke to expressed dismay at the lack of food and beverage options caused by the renovation.
Ms Joyce Lee, 35, a sales manager, has been going to Thomson Plaza for 30 years.
She told TNP: "I miss Koufu (which closed on June 26).
"This renovation has been so disruptive. Instead of $4 meals, I have to spend more than $10 on meals."
A Koufu spokesman told TNP it will return after the renovation is completed.
Mr Samuel Tan, 58, course manager at Temasek Polytechnic's diploma in retail management, said Thomson Plaza needed to do something to change with the times.
He said: "In terms of the tenant mix, the mall's overall offerings could be dated and irrelevant to the target market. To maintain its appeal, malls need to take the opportunity to revamp their offerings."
This article has been amended. Toy Station is not leaving Thomson Plaza, it is relocating to the first floor.