SINGAPORE - Almost half of the net lettable retail space in the upcoming Tekka Place in Little India has been committed or is under advanced negotiations, its developers said on Friday (March 1).
The development being built on the site of the former The Verge mall comprises a 10-storey main block and seven-storey annex, and is on schedule to open by the end of the year.
Developers Lum Chang Holdings and LaSalle Investment Management said at a ceremony marking the project's structural completion that they will now focus on the architectural and service 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 heritage of Little India.
Mr Kelvin Lum, director at Lum Chang and spokesman for the joint venture, said: "We are excited about the myriad of possibilities that Tekka Place will bring to Little India.
"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 both reflect and build on the unique cultural identity of the Little India heritage precinct, and to complement the shopkeeper businesses in the area."
While other tenants at Tekka Place are yet to be announced, 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 previously brought gourmet farmers' market PasarBella and Japanese eatery Eat at Seven to Singapore.
Mr Tan told The Straits Times that XinTekka will offer traditional local food with a premium twist, such as hokkien mee served 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.
"We will add on better ingredients to bring the local fare to the next level."
Tekka Place's developers will also be working with the Singapore Tourism Board, the National Heritage Board and community stakeholders such 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 the forthcoming completion of 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, who attended the ceremony at Tekka Place on Friday, said: "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 that 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."
Mr Iswaran added that malls must be bold in piloting and adopting new concepts and technologies in order to adapt to "profound transformation" in the retail sector.