The Centrepoint to get $50m makeover: Here are 5 facts about the shopping mall

SINGAPORE- The Centrepoint will be undergoing a $50 million makeover starting from May. Its Orchard Road entrance will be widened and visitors will be able to walk right into the basement floors from the street level. There will also be a new drop-off and pick-up point on level one to make it easier for families with children and the elderly, said Frasers Centrepoint Mall on Tuesday(mar17).

The mall will have a new tenant mix, a more open layout and its tenants will be grouped into thematic zones of fashion, beauty, lifestyle, sports, dining and the home.

A familiar sight along Orchard Road for 32 years, the eight-storey complex has lost at least two major tenants, Robinsons and Teochew City Seafood Restaurant in the past year. Cold Storage and Marks & Spencer will soon exit too.

New anchor tenant Metro moved in in November 2014, but in a earnings report in Feb 2015, Metro Holdings' said a "disappointing level of sales" at the new store had resulted in losses.

Other tenants at The Centrpoint include American clothing retailer Gap, coffee chain Starbucks and Japanese restaurant Ichiban Boshi. The mall will remain open during the 16-month renovation. The revamp is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2016.

Here are 5 things about The Centrepoint you may not know.

1) It was once a teenagers' mall


The Centrepoint was built in 1983. It was then known as Centrepoint, and opened with British retailer Robinsons as its anchor tenant. In the mid-eighties, Centrepoint was considered a trendy shopping mall and a popular gathering point among young people. The thousands of teenagers who gathered at the shopping centre were referred to as Centrepoint Kids. Most of them donned loud outfits and big hairstyles. The site used to be occupied by The Cold Storage Milk Bar, a popular hangout in the 1960s that offered ice-cream, cake and other refreshments.

2) It was the first mall to incorporate features with the physically-challenged in mind


From 2004 to 2006, the mall went through a $56.4 million revamp and was renamed The Centrepoint. The changes included a new wing comprising eight floors of shops and a glass facade. The taxi stand that was along the main Orchard Road throughway was relocated to the back to ease traffic congestion. The mall was also reportedly the first to incorporate features for the physically challenged, such as a chair lift and wheelchair-friendly toilets.

3) The mall offered subsidised training to staff to improve service standards


In 2006, the mall took the unusual step of tying up with the Retail Academy of Singapore to offer subsidised training to staff at its smaller retail tenants in an effort to lift service standards at the mall. The retailers involved were those with a network of fewer than five stores and a staff strength of fewer than 50. In 2001, it also embarked on a five-year plan to work towards service excellence and the Spring Singapore's S-class certification. In mid-2005, it became the first mall to get the award.

4) The Centrepoint has won a number of awards


The Centrepoint won a Silver in the Orchard Road "Best Dressed Building" competition organised by Orchard Road Business Association in 2009. It set a new Singapore record for "Tallest Christmas Tree Made of Cupcakes" on Nov 13, 2009 and a Guinness World Record for the "Tallest Chocolate Sculpture" on Dec 2, 2008.

5) Its first upgrade was in 1991


The mall was uprgraded at a cost of $4 million in 1991. Then-executive director of Centrepoint Properties G H Darwin said the upgrading was to give the building a "better ambience and make it more user-friendly". Centrepoint's management committee carried out a survey to find out what customers want, and top on the wishlist were better toilets. The toilets were then fitted with automatic flushing systems. Renovation works were carried out at night to minimise disruption to business.

Sources: The Centrepoint's Facebook page,, The New Paper, The Business Times