Once hailed as the gem of the north, the Old Woodlands Town Centre boasted a bustling bus interchange, 24-hour eateries, a Shaw Brothers-owned cinema, and a huge department store.
They disappeared at different times: the bus interchange relocated in 1996, while the cinema ceased operations in the mid-2000s and has been vacant ever since.
Today, the town centre is a sleepy, old neighbourhood, drawing mainly nearby residents going about their daily shopping for necessities, and Malaysian workers, as the first populated centre past the Woodlands Checkpoint.
Two weeks ago, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced an extension of the checkpoint which would absorb the old town centre.
The upgrade is to meet growing traffic needs, while ensuring that immigration clearance remains secure, said the Singapore Land Authority in its joint statement with the ICA. Two lots of private land - 268 and 270 Woodlands Centre Road - will be acquired for the extension, said the SLA.
In June 2012, the Housing Board announced that Blocks 1A to 6A of Woodlands Centre Road - located right smack in the old town centre - were bound for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers).
Residents of these six blocks, completed between 1980 and 1986, have already relocated, turning the town centre into a quiet, laidback area in the day.
Straits Times executive photojournalist Seah Kwang Peng explores the heart of the once-bustling border town.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2017, with the headline 'Farewell, gem of the north'. Print Edition | Subscribe
We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused. Until we resolve the issues, subscribers need not log in to access ST Digital articles. But a log-in is still required for our PDFs.