Samy's Curry to stay, some furniture shops to leave as part of Dempsey rejuvenation plans

Samy's Curry and several other establishments will be offered longer leases of up to nine years. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Fans of Samy's Curry can breathe a sigh of relief. The Dempsey institution, along with a majority of businesses in the lifestyle enclave, has been told it can stay on at its current location. This puts an end to the uncertainty it faced over its future as its lease was due to expire in March.

Eatery Sprmrkt and pet store Singpet are among the upcoming additions to Dempsey, while some long-time furniture retailers will be moving out as plans to rejuvenate Tanglin Village take shape.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has granted Dempsey master tenant Country City Investments (CCI) a two-year lease extension for nine of the 18 blocks that it currently sublets in the Dempsey cluster.

Of the remaining nine, three will be put up for tender. Four more blocks housing The Wine Company and furniture store Timothy Oulton at CuriO have been awarded to Como Lifestyle for spa and wellness use.

Samy's Curry, RedDot BrewHouse, Long Beach Seafood and Morsels - located in Blocks 25 and 25A - will be offered longer leases of up to nine years, the SLA said in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 15).

The four restaurants are "iconic and home-grown dining establishments synonymous with Dempsey", the SLA said.

Block 26 Dempsey Road, which currently houses Lotto Carpets Gallery, Shang Antique, Em Gallery and Tawandang Microbrewery, was put up for tender on Wednesday.

"Building on the strong local branding that will be retained around the area at Blocks 25 and 25A Dempsey Road, the tender at Block 26 will be for F&B, retail and art uses with a strong local focus," the SLA said, adding that it will be evaluating the bids together with the Singapore Tourism Board.

Block 26A, which is currently vacant, and Block 26B, which formerly housed Meat-Me Steakhouse, will also be put up for tender next month (February), when their planned uses will be announced.

Some businesses affected by the changes, such as The Wine Company, have been relocated within Dempsey by CCI, while others like Meat-Me Steakhouse are looking for new locations.

Tawandang Microbrewery closed for good at the end of December last year as it could not find a suitable location in Singapore, CCI told The Straits Times.

"With the new extension, a great majority of the tenants have renewed their tenancies," a spokesman said.

CCI has about 50 tenants across the Dempsey Hill and Loewen by Dempsey clusters. New and upcoming concepts include cooking school Eat at My Kitchen, Da Paolo Dempsey Restaurant and Bar and Portuguese eatery Tuga, it said.

The Straits Times reported in September last year that some businesses in the Dempsey area were facing uncertainty over their future amid plans to spruce up the area.

Ms Nagajyothi Mahendran, director of Samy's Curry, said that she was happy for the lease extension.

The family business started by her grandfather in the 1960s has been located for 40 years in the same building that once housed the Civil Service Club.

"Every day we get calls from customers asking if we are moving, so now we can confidently say that we are not," she said.

Lotto Carpets Gallery, on the other hand, which has been in the Dempsey area for more than 22 years, will have to pack up and move by March.

Sales have fallen slightly over the years as the profile of visitors to the area has changed, said marketing director Imran Abid Mir.

But with a strong base of regular customers, the family business is not calling it quits.

"We're looking for a new place now. It's a little bit of a heartache to be leaving, but it's time to move on," he said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.