History of River Valley
River Valley is known as a predominantly expat area, particularly with Europeans and other Westerners. Attracted by its proximity to the CBD and Orchard Road as well as by the large profusion of bars and restaurants in walking distance of the many condos that are a feature of the area, it is easy to see why. That is a relatively recent phenomenon, however.
Like a lot of today’s Singapore, modern day River Valley’s story began in the 1960’s. Redevelopment of the area began early in the decade and was boosted by government initiatives to clean up the Singapore River, including the removal of squatters, hawkers and the many lighter companies that operated on the river.
Liang Court, the first new commercial building in the area opened its doors in late 1983, followed a decade later by another mixed development UE Square. The URA’s Concept Plan of 1991 really paved the way for the area’s future, when it zoned for entertainment, hotel and residential use both Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.
What’s in River Valley
Unsurprisingly, the river characterises this area, as it snakes its way from Great World City to Boat Quay. On its banks there are numerous hotels, restaurants and bars that are busy all evening and night, no matter what day of the week. Overlooking the river are many condos, the vast majority of which have sprung up in the last decade.
The recently renovated Zion Food Court is one of the few on the island with a waterfront setting. Perhaps the area’s most famous resident however, has packed its bags and moved downriver. The iconic Zouk nightclub graced River Valley from its warehouse location just south of Jiak Kim Bridge between 1991 and 2016, before moving to its present site in Clarke Quay.
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River Valley in the next 10 years
More of the same but better, seems to be the plan for the foreseeable future judging by the River Valley Master Plan. The biggest addition, and one that will have a profound effect on the residents, the number of visitors and the property prices in the area is the arrival of the MRT line. The Thomson-East Coast Line will come through the region with a station at Great World City, due to be completed by 2021. The shopping mall is currently going through a refurbishment programme and will be fully open again in late 2019.
When Singapore’s number one nightclub moved, it left a prime spot right in the heart of the Kim Seng precinct. Frasers Property won the fight with a bid of almost $100 million for the former Zouk site, and its project the Riviere is currently under construction.