View of People’s Park Complex in Chinatown. (Photo: Nicolas Lannuzel, Wikimedia Commons)
Four post-independence landmarks in Singapore – People’s Park Complex and People’s Park Centre in Chinatown, as well as Golden Mile Complex and Golden Mile Tower at Beach Road – may soon disappear from the city’s landscape, reported the Straits Times.
This comes as collective sales committees have been formed for People’s Park Complex, People’s Park Centre and Golden Mile Complex, while Golden Mile Tower is in the process of forming one.
Experts widely recognise three of these structures, namely Golden Mile Complex, Golden Mile Tower and People’s Park Complex, as architecturally and historically significant.
Representing Singapore’s post-independence architectural history, the three were inspired by the Brutalist-architectural movement, the style of which usually features monumental structures that were made of off-form concrete.
They were also completed as part of the first Land Sales Programme of the government in 1967 when land parcels were sold with a 99-year leasehold tenure.
Reactions to the collective sales attempt of these developments have been mixed.
While the structure is special, the owner of Golden Watch Gold and Jewellery at People’s Park Complex, who wanted to be known only as Mr Kea, revealed that he is willing to sell “if the price is right”.
“Just like an ageing person, an old building will have its issues. As long as the selling price is reasonable, it can move undecided owners,” said Mr Kea, while noting that sentiments among owners present during the extraordinary general meeting held on 5 March were split – those for and against the collective sale bid.
More: Building craze
Among those against the sale was Hang Lang Jewellery owner Henry Ho. “We’ve been here for about 40 years. Business is good enough. Our roots are here – it’s where my father started his business. Compared to an Orchard Road Mall, it’s not as swanky but there are tourists here and we are surviving.”
Generally, owners of ageing properties try to sell their units due to fears of having to pay additional maintenance, restoration or renovation costs.
“A combination of factors – an ageing property with a dropping value combined with maintenance issues and an increased appetite from developers, are driving many owners to seriously consider collective sales,” noted landscape and architectural photographer Darren Soh.