Nearly half the net lettable retail space in Little India's upcoming Tekka Place has been committed or is under advanced negotiations, its developers said yesterday.
The complex being built on the site of the former Verge mall comprises a 10-storey main block and a seven-storey annex, and is on schedule to open by the end of the year.
Developers Lum Chang Holdings and LaSalle Investment Management said they will now focus on architectural and services works.
Tekka Place will include 320 serviced apartments and 70,000 sq ft of retail concepts with 80 shops.
An outdoor rooftop area will feature food and beverage outlets with space set aside for activities that promote the area's heritage.
Mr Kelvin Lum, Lum Chang director and spokesman for the joint venture, said: "We are excited about the myriad possibilities that Tekka Place will bring to Little India.
Number of serviced apartments Tekka Place will have.
Number of shops it will have.
"Even though we have been approached by reputable local and international retail and F&B brands, we are selective in curating Tekka Place's retail mix to reflect and build on the unique cultural identity of the Little India heritage precinct."
The rustic-themed XinTekka food hall will occupy more than 10,000 sq ft and feature around 26 stalls.
It will be run by restaurateur Andrew Tan, who brought gour-met farmers' market PasarBella and Japanese eatery Eat A t Seven to Singapore.
Mr Tan told The Straits Times that XinTekka will offer traditional food with a premium twist, such as Hokkien mee with Korean oysters.
"It is good to have char kway teow and carrot cake, but it will end up being the same as other food halls, so we wanted something different," he said.
Tekka Place's developers will also be working with the Singapore Tourism Board, the National Heritage Board as well as the Indian Heritage Centre and Lasalle College of the Arts to showcase Little India's culture and heritage.
Mr Rajakumar Chandra, chairman of the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (Lisha), said: "Since the start, the owners have been proactively engaging Lisha, seeking our feedback and providing regular project updates.
"We very much look forward to ... Tekka Place, which will add to the revitalisation of the precinct as well as the dynamism of Little India."
Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran told the ceremony yesterday: "In many ways, this development is at the confluence of different trends, and it is uniquely positioned to pioneer new ideas and harness the rich cultural history we have from this precinct.
"I hope you will embrace this challenge and really set about the task of positioning Tekka Place as a truly iconic landmark, not just for Little India but for Singapore as a whole."