The Liv at Changi mall is a sprawling piece of art no matter how you look at it.
Armed with a modern red and grey facade, the aesthetic three-storey building sports stylish, tinted windows that add to a generally sleek design.
All in all, a mall that is worth visiting at least once. If you’re into aesthetics anyway.
But here’s the thing. Though Liv at Changi is touted to be a mall, and one that has technically been allowed to open since December last year at that, it’s reportedly still…
Yes, folks. Despite being granted a Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) around nine months ago, the mall remains ‘closed’…
Because it has, for the most part, absolutely nothing inside.
A Mall in Changi That Opened Late Last Year is Still Empty Due to COVID-19
According to Channel News Asia, the Liv at Changi mall remains surreptitiously closed, despite being ‘open for business’ as long as nine months ago.
Incidentally, the three-storey building is located at the junction of Upper Changi Road North and Mariam Way, just across the road from the Prison Link Centre in Changi.
According to the news report, journalists visiting the scene found that the road leading to the mall’s carpark was lined with red cones.
And though the front doors say “welcome”, they were tightly bolted shut.
A SafeEntry sign can also be seen taped on the entrance, hinting at an opening that has yet to actually occur.
Now you might be wondering;
It’s good-looking, it’s appealing and it’s not exactly closed off to others; why on earth is it still empty inside?
Well, believe me, it happens to more than just buildings. But in this case, it seems that the purported reason is a much more relatable one:
The Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the mall’s developer Fortune Assets Changi, the mall has been facing real trouble attracting tenants, due to planning restrictions and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Leasing of retail spaces, in particular, was adversely affected by circuit breaker measures adopted in April.
The planning guidelines also inhibited certain marketable trades, such as cafes and restaurants, which would have been vital in securing business for the mall.
“Leasing of the retail spaces was affected by the pandemic with the circuit breaker measures implemented in April,” Fortune Assets Changi director Keev Tan said.
“Additionally, the planning guidelines restricted certain desired trades, such as cafes and restaurants, which are essential for the mall to draw traffic.”
However, Netizens have speculated alternative reasons to the mall’s ’emptiness’, with some suggesting that it might actually be because of the owners’ high rental prices.
As such, they have also made plausible suggestions on how to draw tenants in.
But in the end, such comments can only remain as mere speculation. Though in retrospect, they may just play a definitive part.
Developer’s Request Was Turned Down
Apparently, the developer had intended to turn six shop units on the first and second floor into restaurants.
However, the request was ultimately turned down by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
“The proposed restaurants cannot be allowed, as stated in planning condition (f) of the Written Permission, to safeguard the amenities of the surrounding residents,” the URA said.
According to the most recent planning conditions sent in March 2019, URA said that the mall was not permitted to have restaurants, bars, health centres or nightclubs.
Which is a really bad notion revenue wise, considering how the banned aspects seem to drive in the most human traffic nowadays.
And it certainly shows. In a letter to CNA, a resident explained how the community is next to clueless about the contents of the mall.
“Looks like a new white elephant mall,” he said.
But There’s Still Hope
According to the developer, the process of leasing out the retail spaces is still ongoing.
So as far as the mall is concerned, it’s more of a matter of time.
“The objective of the mall has always been to provide quality amenities and services to the residents in the vicinity,” Mr Tan said.
Well, on the positive side…
I guess they’ll, at the very least, have a lot of time to determine the mall’s most suitable tenants.
Who knows, years down the road…
The pandemic might actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise for them.
Though of course, only time will tell. But even still…
We have our fingers crossed.
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