Friday, June 29, 2012

It's business as usual at Rochor Centre till 2016

Straits Times: Fri, Jun 29
IT IS business as usual at Rochor Centre, seven months after news broke that it will be demolished to make way for the North-South Expressway.

However, not everyone seems to realise it.

Shop owners say some customers think the 35-year-old housing and commercial complex has already closed for good.

Hoardings from the nearby Downtown MRT Line construction also give the impression that demolition has started.

'I've customers calling me to ask me where I am located now,' said Madam Linda Chia, 59, who owns a goldsmith shop right behind the heavy piling.

'We are still here!' she added. In fact, business will carry on until 2016. Residents and shop owners will then have to relocate when construction of the expressway starts.

Unlike residents who are given priority to new build-to-order (BTO) flats in Kallang, shop owners have to look for a new location themselves.

The search for another place has sent some looking as far afield as Ubi Industrial Estate, while others hope to remain in the same area, close to the crowded Waterloo Street.

The Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme guarantees that each unit will be compensated $30,000 for relocation, which many complain is barely enough to cover renovation for a new place.

What has made some tenants even more disgruntled is a 10 per cent increase in rent when they renew their two- or three-year lease before the move.

However, this has been offset by a 10 per cent rent rebate due to the inconvenience caused by the MRT construction.

The initial anger and shock have died down and the shop owners who spoke to The Straits Times seem reconciled to the fact that they will have to relocate. But any mention of the move still draws sighs and head-shaking...
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