Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Revamped Tekka Mall Gets New Name

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 6, 2008

A FIVE-YEAR-OLD mall on the edge of bustling Little India is in the midst of a revamp that will make it more modern, but tone down its Indian identity.

The owners of Tekka Mall in Serangoon Road have decided to renovate the complex and rename it The Verge - as part of an effort to improve its image, a spokesman said.

The mall, located across the street from the original Tekka Market, plans to attract a new mix of restaurants, lifestyle and electronic outlets.

At the moment, less than half of the shop spaces are occupied as construction crews refurbish the interior and facade. Only a handful of stores, offering Indian-related goods or services, remain.

Spokesman Amir Salleh, the group director of property from Malaysian listed company DRB-Hicom, which owns the mall, said it would be different from its surroundings.

'We are not trying to copy and replicate what is in Little India. We are trying to find something that is complementary,' he said in a phone interview from Kuala Lumpur.

It is understood that many tenants have found the going tough at Tekka Mall over the past few years, with a number of them going belly-up.

Although Mr Amir would not give details about his tenants, he said this revamp was one way of improving the situation for the remaining retailers.

Some of the shopkeepers are hopeful that a new mix of outlets will attract buyers from outside the local Indian community.

One of them, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Nathan, said many tourists and local Chinese and Malays visit the area.'It would be good to have more stuff to cater to them,' she added.

Meanwhile, some shopkeepers interviewed felt shoppers would trip over the new name, which is a play on the word 'converge'.

Mrs Elizabeth Sakunthala, who owns a beauty shop there, said: 'The name, Tekka Mall, is easier on the tongue. The Verge is going to take people more time to get used to.'

Mr Gohulabalan, the honorary secretary of the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association, said he hoped the mall would at least retain its name.

'There are so many shopping malls in Singapore already,' he said. 'We don't want to lose the originality and authenticity of Little India.'

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