Kallang roars with new mall

The opening of Kallang Wave mall, offering food and recreational options, has added to the buzz in the area

Queues forming outside family restaurant Astons Specialties for their steaks. Families browsing the aisles at the sports-themed FairPrice Xtra, with a floor design that features running tracks. Peals of laughter ringing out from the open-air rooftop, where children are running around a water-play area.

In the middle of the action, rock climbers scale a three-storey wall Spidey-style as curious shoppers look on.

These are the lively sights in what is arguably Singapore's sportiest mall: Kallang Wave Mall, a place where you can eat, shop, play and exercise.

Over the past few months, it has become a weekend haunt for families in the Kallang area.

The 41,000 sq m mall, which was officially launched in February, boasts more than 30 food establishments, popular retail brands such as H&M and Uniqlo, a rooftop water park and even a soon-to-be-opened Japanese onsen and spa.

It is shaping up to be the most popular feature of the Singapore Sports Hub, a 35ha development that includes the OCBC Aquatic Centre, Singapore Sports Museum and Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Mall management SMRT Alpha says that more than 8 million visitors have visited the mall since its soft opening last June.

Athletic types will certainly find lots to do at Kallang Wave Mall. There are at least 12 shops and facilities to satisfy their sporting needs, including retailers New Balance and Sportslink.

Sales manager Haider Amir, 29, likes to go climbing at Climb Central, which boasts the highest indoor climbing walls in Singapore, taking up all three floors of the mall. The walls can be up to 16m tall.

He says: "Even if I forget to bring my sportswear, I can get one easily from the sports shops nearby and do my climb."

He lives in Tampines and goes to Sports Hub up to four times a month. Previously he visited the area only when there were concerts he wanted to catch at the National Stadium.

Tanjong Rhu resident Valerie Tan, who works in banking, also notes the increased liveliness of the area.

"The area is definitely more bustling now. The Sports Hub livens up the surroundings and the atmosphere of the place."

The 34-year-old has lived in Water Place, a condominium located along the Kallang River, for the past 10 years and remembers when the entire site was a construction site that generated a lot of dust.

Construction for the new Sports Hub started in 2010, after years of delays due to the 2008 financial crisis and soaring construction costs. Its doors finally opened in June last year and the sleepy vicinity is revitalised with multiple recreational, dining and retail options.

The Sports Hub is conveniently connected to town via Stadium MRT Station on the Circle Line, which opened in 2010.

On the other side of Stadium MRT is Leisure Park Kallang, an older mall which has been around since the 1980s. Though not strictly part of Sports Hub, it is likely to enjoy spillover effects from the area's revitalisation.

In a bid to keep up with the competition, the mall, which is managed by property developer Jack Investment, has been undergoing an $18-million revamp in stages since 2013. It is expected to be fully ready by June, with more tenants moving in.

So far, it boasts a new food street on its first floor with tenants such as Japanese restaurant Akashabu and vegetarian restaurant Clover 8. This brings the total number of eateries in the mall to 24, giving its new neighbour Kallang Wave Mall a run for the money.

So far, residents in the area have no complaints about the beefed-up dining and entertainment options in their neighbourhood - except for the occasional traffic jam when there are concerts at the 55,000-seat National Stadium.

Tanjong Rhu resident Wen Ling, 30, laments that she has to find an alternative route home during concert days. On such days, she takes the train. If she drives, she goes by the East Coast Parkway expressway instead of a much shorter route via Nicoll Highway.

But the accountant admits that there are perks to living so near the National Stadium.

"I can hear the music from the concerts in my living room," she says. "Just last week, I was dancing along to One Direction during their concert."

nabilahs@sph.com.sg


10 THINGS TO DO IN KALLANG

1. Skate

What: Landmark tenant Kallang Ice World at Leisure Park Kallang has been made over with a new rink surface, new function rooms for private events and parties, and gallery-style seating for parents and spectators during competitions. Clumsy on skates? Kallang Ice World also offers beginner classes.

Where: Leisure Park Kallang, 5 Stadium Walk, 03-08/09

Open: Sunday to Thursday, 10am to 10pm, Friday, Saturday and eve of public holiday, 10am to 12 midnight, public holiday, 9am to 10pm Admission: $17.50 an adult (2 hours skate rental), $15 a child (2 hours skate rental); gloves at $2 (adult) and $2.50 (child), socks at $2

Info: www.leisurepark.com.sg

2. Eat

What: With a Food Street at Leisure Park Kallang and multiple eateries at Kallang Wave Mall, visitors have more than 50 options to choose from. For a quick bite, grab a cappuccino ($4.90) and chocolate cake ($6.50) from Joe & Dough at Leisure Park Kallang. For modern Asian fare, head to Basil by Thai Express at Kallang Wave Mall for Massaman chicken curry ($13.90, served with roti) or Thai chendol ($5.90).

Where: Joe & Dough, 01-12 Leisure Park Kallang; Basil, 01-16 Kallang Wave Mall

Open: Joe & Dough: 8am to 10pm daily; Basil: 11.30am to 10pm daily

Info: www.joeanddough.com and basil.com.sg

3. Party

What: To coincide with the lunar eclipse on April 4, The New Paper is turning Kallang Wave Mall into a mega indoor club at night. In the day, it is more family-friendly, with balloon sculptors, portrait painters and music duo Jack and Rai providing entertainment.

Where: Kallang Wave Mall

When: April 4, 12 noon to midnight

Admission: $50 a pair will get you two goodie bags with $500 worth of vouchers and four free drinks. Early-bird tickets at $40 a pair before March 23

Info: tnppartyatkwave.sg

4. Compete

What: Sports Hub’s first adventure race, Super 8s, comprises eight challenges taking place across the entire 35ha area. Tasks include completing a 200m run on the track and scoring five goals in futsal. The team (up of to four people) that completes all challenges in the fastest time will win prizes. Better to keep it all in the family, as teams made up of family members enjoy time advantages.

Where: Various parts of the Sports Hub

When: Next Saturday, slots available from 8am to 3pm

Admission: Free, but registration is required.

Info: To register, go to www.sportshub.com.sg or e-mail experiencesports@sportshub.com.sg

5. Lawn bowl

What: Enjoy this quaint laidback sport on the artificial turf lawn on level three of the Sports Hub. The game requires players to roll balls, known as bowls, as close to the jack, a smaller ball that acts as the target, as possible.

Where: Above the Sports Museum, level 3

Open: 7am to 10pm

Admission: Free, booking is required. Balls, jacks and mats are available for loan.

Info: www.sportshub.com.sg/community

6. Learn

What: Find out more about the sports history of Singapore at the Singapore Sports Museum. Hall of Fame spotlights sports heroes such as swimmer Ang Peng Siong and footballer Fandi Ahmad, while Dream Venue shows the iconic events in the history of the former National Stadium. Expect artefacts such as old Malaysia Cup tickets and Ang’s swimming trunks, interactive displays and old footage of matches.

Where: Singapore Sports Museum, 6 Stadium Walk

Open: Weekday, 10am to 8pm, weekend, 10am to 9pm

Admission: Free for Singaporeans and permanent residents, $10 for non-residents, $5 for non-resident students and senior citizens

Info: www.sportshub.com.sg

7. Climb

What: Climb Central has the highest indoor climbing walls in Singapore, which can be up to 16m tall. Children as young as five can climb and safety briefings are held every 15 minutes for beginners to learn the basics of climbing. Special belaying devices, or devices to help you hold the rope for your partner, are also available so that parents do not have to be certified to be able to belay their children.

Where: Kallang Wave Mall, B1-01, 1 Stadium Place

Open: Weekday, 11am to 11pm, weekend and public holiday, 9am to 9pm

Admission: $30 for an adult day pass. Family passes (for one adult and at least one child) start at $36

Info: www.climbcentral.sg or www.facebook.com/ClimbCentral

8. Splash-N-Surf

What: Head to the rooftop of Kallang Wave Mall and discover a hidden oasis – a kids pool and water-play area for children aged three to 12. The open-air play area mimics a tropical setting, with palm tree and flower-shaped embellishments. Nearby, the 1m-deep lazy river is perfect for whiling the day away on inflatable donuts. The rooftop is also the perfect place to get a bird’s-eye view of Kallang Basin.

Where: Rooftop of Kallang Wave Mall

Open: 8am to 10pm daily

Admission: Free for the kids’ pool and water play area; free for the lazy river till April 15, $2 thereafter. Swim wear required for the kids’ pool, changing rooms are available

Info: www.sportshub.com.sg

9. Canoe and kayak

What: Rent a canoe or kayak from the Water Sports Centre and explore the waters of Kallang Basin. To celebrate World Water Day this Sunday, free dragonboating and kayaking sessions are taking place tomorrow, led by organisations such as Singapore Dragon Boat Association. Dragonboating sessions, 9.45 to 10.30am; kayaking sessions, 9.45am to 12 noon

Where: Water Sports Centre, 8 Stadium Walk

Open: Rental hours 7am to 7pm daily (last boat rental at 5pm). No public rentals from today till Sunday due to World Water Day activities.

Admission: For two hours: $12 to $18 (adults); $8 to $13 (children, students and senior citizens)

Info: www.sportshub.com.sg, www.singaporeworldwaterday.com

10. Experience Sports Fitness and Free-To-Play sessions

What: No more excuses not to get off your bum with these free daily fitness sessions. The classes, lasting one to two hours, range from zumba and pilates to kickboxing and functional training. On weekends, you can also learn to play a new sport, such as beach volleyball, fencing or table tennis in special Learn-To-Play sessions.

Where: Various parts of the Sports Hub

When: Fitness sessions are held daily at various times. Free-To–Play sessions take place on weekends, on various dates and times for each sport.

Admission: Free. Registration is required as slots are limited.

Info: www.sportshub.com.sg