Chinatown Street Market to get long-awaited refurbishment

An artist's impression of the refurbished Chinatown Street Market when works are completed in end-2018.
An artist's impression of the refurbished Chinatown Street Market when works are completed in end-2018. PHOTO: CHINATOWN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

SINGAPORE - The Chinatown Street Market will finally get a makeover after a delay of several years.

The Chinatown Business Association (CBA) announced on Friday (March 10) that refurbishment works, involving 159 stalls along Pagoda, Sago, Smith and Trengganu Streets, will start on May 15. It is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

Plans to give the street market a facelift and improve fire safety were mooted as early as 2013 with an estimated completion date of 2015. This was followed by another announcement in April 2016, with works expected to begin in October last year and end by June 2018.

The delays were due to time taken to obtain approval from the authorities and extended engagement with stall tenants and shophouse landlords, said the CBA, which runs the street market. 

To minimise disruption to stallholders and visitors, the upcoming works will take place in phases, beginning with stalls along Pagoda Street, the CBA said in a release on Friday.

This will ensure that most of the Chinatown Street Market remains open to visitors, especially during the festive periods of Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival, with retailers in non-affected areas staying open, it said.

Temporary hoarding with directional signs to attractions and businesses will be put up, while lights and fans will be installed along corridors in front of affected shophouses.

As part of the refurbishment, standalone street stalls will be given improved roof insulation, extended shelters and rain curtains to protect against the elements.

Units in front of shophouses will have enhanced fire safety features such as water sprinklers and fire-rated shutters which will activate when smoke is detected, as well as rain curtains. 

The refurbished street market will have 140 stalls and the CBA is working with tenants to enhance the retail mix, it said.

The CBA has been speaking to stall tenants, shophouse landlords and other stakeholders to get feedback on the refurbishment.

Tenants have been given a two-month notice period and are aware of the refurbishment timeline.

First launched in 2004, the Chinatown Street Market was designed to re-create the street hawking scene of the past, and has become popular among tourists. Stalls, lined along shophouses and streets, sell items such as souvenirs and fashion accessories.