CIMB opens new office above Change Alley Mall, renames mall CIMB Plaza

The Change Alley Mall at Raffles Place has been renamed CIMB Plaza with the relocation of Malaysian bank CIMB. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
(From left) CIMB Singapore CEO Victor Lee, CIMB Group CEO Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad, and CIMB Group chairman Datuk Mohd Nasir Ahmad. PHOTO: CIMB BANK SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Malaysian bank CIMB officially opened its new offices on Wednesday (June 1) above the premises of Change Alley Mall at Raffles Place, which will be renamed CIMB Plaza.

CIMB had been at Singapore Land Tower for 12 years before moving to 30 Raffles Place last December.

CIMB Singapore chief executive Victor Lee said at the opening ceremony that the move presented the company with an opportunity to build an office suited for a hybrid workplace that would entail "hot-desking and co-working space, (which caters to) the need for agility and teams to collaborate more intimately".

The new offices include meeting rooms that can accommodate both physical and virtual participants, and collaboration pods.

Features such as temperature screening devices and cashless vending machines are installed as health and safety measures as workers return to the office.

Human resource head Jaime Rosario said: "Employees have been so used to working remotely for over two years, so giving them a choice to manage their work week improves employee well-being."

The relocation also allowed CIMB to occupy an environmentally sustainable workplace as the new building is Green Mark certified, after it received the Green Mark Award in 2020 for energy-efficiency.

CIMB Singapore has around 1,000 employees at the new offices, having shut down an outlet in Orchard Road last year as part of a restructuring exercise.

The office's official opening was held in conjunction with the ceremony to rename the famed Change Alley Mall as CIMB Plaza.

Mr Lee said the move is a significant milestone in CIMB's footprint in Singapore, but tenants are split on the rebranding.

Ms Mann Ngai, supervisor of Tanamera Coffee on the ground floor, said the change is good for business and brings more customers: "There are a lot of new faces nowadays - bankers and people who visit the (CIMB office) - in addition to our usual customers."

But the change might trouble delivery riders and services as platforms might not have the mall's new name updated, Ms Ngai added.

Change Alley in the 1980s (left). It has now been renamed CIMB Plaza. PHOTOS: ST FILE, KELVIN CHNG

Ms Gerlie Ariola, managing director of delivery service chain Priority Mail Express, said the name change also brings extra administrative and marketing problems.

"We have flyers and posters with the old location printed on it, and we will now have to change the address cited on our website as well," she noted.

"But we are not too worried about business as many old customers still use our services."

Change Alley Mall has been renamed as CIMB Plaza. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Change Alley Mall: From hot spot for traders to retail hub

Change Alley Mall may now be a retail hub lined with food-and-beverage establishments, but it retains its famous role as a home to money changers and a bazaar site.

The alley, which was a hot spot for traders and brokers dealing in spices, produce and metals, is believed to have been named in 1890 after the famous trading hub in London called Exchange Alley.

Now renamed CIMB Plaza, the alley runs from Raffles Place to Collyer Quay, placing it in the heart of Singapore's Central Business District - appropriate given that doing deals of some sort has always been its central function.

In the 1930s, the 100m-long stretch was reputed for its hustle and bustle and diverse offerings from apparel retailers to the ever-present money changers.

Change Alley is believed to have been named in 1890 after the famous trading hub in London called Exchange Alley. PHOTO: GEORGE TRICKER COLLECTION, NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF SINGAPORE

But declining sea travel, the withdrawal of British troops in the 1970s, and the emergence of shopping malls led to a dip in traffic along the alley and the crowd dwindled.

It closed in 1989 and flanking buildings Singapore Rubber House - a 15-storey office block - and four-storey Winchester House, dating back to 1905, were demolished.

The alley made its return in 1993 as an air-conditioned shopping arcade wedged between skyscrapers Chevron House and Hitachi House, now known as 16 Collyer Quay.

Tour guide Camelia Yap, 58, said she used to visit Change Alley often in the 1990s to exchange currencies for travel.

"The whole of Singapore used to go (to Change Alley) for the money changers - even tourists would know of it. It was right beside Clifford Pier, so tourists from places like Batam would arrive in droves."

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