Tenants upset about linkway project

Tenants upset about linkway project

A group of unhappy shop tenants in the China Square area are appealing for more help during renovation works aimed at creating a new commercial precinct. The seven tenants, mainly food and beverage operators in Nankin Row, say they could lose 70 per cent of business as most of their business comes from the lunchtime office crowd.

They say patrons who use the al fresco dining areas will be driven away by the noise and dirt involved in building a sheltered linkway along Nankin Row at China Square Central. They are unhappy at what they regard as a short notice period and the lack of information offered by landlord Great Eastern.

The linkway to Far East Square is part of a project integrating Far East Square, China Square Central and Great Eastern Centre into a precinct known as China Place, boosted by new retail, entertainment and hospitality amenities. The $14 million cost will be shared equally by Great Eastern, Far East Organization and Frasers Commercial Trust.

Some of the affected eateries such as Ricebox and The Tea Party Cafe moved in less than a year ago while others like Viet Express have been there for six years.

Industry players estimate that monthly rents at Nankin Row range from $8,000 to $10,000, depending on the shop sizes.

Most tenants acknowledge that the linkway will improve business but would like help during the work. Some would prefer a delay in construction to a slower period such as the school holidays. Others suggested rental rebates.

However, not all tenants are unhappy about the change. Frasers Commercial Trust, which owns China Square Central, said: 'There is no feedback from tenants at China Square Central regarding the hoarding and their business arising from the works for the precinct master plan. Office tenants indicated that they are looking forward to better dining and entertainment amenities resulting from the master plan.'

The Great Eastern spokesman said it too has had positive feedback from some tenants who welcome construction of the covered walkway as it will provide shelter from the sun and rain.

'The enhancement work will continue as scheduled. We believe the improvements would ultimately bring about a more vibrant and conducive F&B environment, which is likely to draw more visitors to the area.'

Source: The Straits Times – 24 May 2012