Wednesday, August 6, 2008

On The Verge Of Change

Source : TODAY, Wednesday, August 6, 2008

But tenants, pleased with renovations, worry the new name is out of place

THE NEXT time shop owner Mr Chua Seow Bin reprints his name-cards, they will read “The Verge (Tekka Mall).”

It is good that the mall is being renovated to attract more customers, the partyware shop owner said, but he is not sure changing the mall’s name is a good idea. Tekka Mall is a popular name, everyone recognises it, he argued.

That about sums up the general sentiment of tenants and customers at Tekka Mall.

Renovations began earlier this year, and by the fourth quarter, the mall will be relaunched as an IT, lifestyle and food and beverage (F&B) hub.

Most tenants Today spoke to were glad the works would be completed soon, and expected business to do better. But the name change raised more than a few eyebrows.

Given a more sophisticated tenant mix and service offerings, the new moniker “reflects the new positioning of The Verge,” said group director of property Amir Salleh from DRB-HICOM BERHAD, one of the co-owners of The Verge, which will feature more than 100 shops on eight levels.

The mall will be refurbished to look more contemporary and brighter. Existing tenants such as the Singapore Human Resources Institute will undergo a revamp, while discussions are underway to secure IT/electronics tenants.

Still, watch store sales assistant Allal Ho, 35, asked how the mall would compete with nearby Sim Lim Tower, famous for its electronics selection.

Mr Johnny Eng, co-owner of an optical store, applauded the new name for being “more unique, like a modern shopping centre”, while others felt the name unsuited for the area. Engineer Sidney Chng, 37, said the mall “should be remodelled as a heritage centre because of the Indian neighbourhood. The Verge sounds good, but it is out of place here.”

A store assistant, who did not want to be named, said the new name might attract the “more educated” but the customers who shop here, such as foreign Indian workers, would find it “too hard to pronounce ... My friends and other tenants also said they don’t know how to pronounce it”. The adjoining block — renamed Chill@ The Verge — will also be made over and dedicated to entertainment and F&B outlets for the younger audience. It is expected to be completed by mid-2009.

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