Clarke Quay revamp is food for business

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2006, 12:00am

BILL GRAHAM, co-owner of two restaurants at Clarke Quay, is a happy businessman. The S$80 million (HK$393.69 million) revamp of the entertainment and leisure quayside strip along the Singapore River by landlord CapitaLand will be completed in October, but revenues have already grown

35 per cent this year.

'From our perspective, Clarke Quay's revamp has proved extraordinarily good for business. To give you an idea, the revenues of Quayside Seafood [his alfresco restaurant] are up 400 per cent on 2002,' he said.

The restaurateur attributed this success to the location. '[It has a] great outdoor yet fully weatherproofed ambience and a proactive landlord with a clear vision and spending power to realise it.'

This was not always the case. Though its position along the Singapore River was ideal for leisure walks and alfresco dining, locals and tourists shunned the tatty complex.

CapitaLand Retail began refurbishing the five blocks of heritage buildings 21/2 years ago, transforming them into a bright kaleidoscope of restaurants, wine bars, shops and nightspots.

'The key task was to overcome the environmental challenges, while retaining the heritage charm of the waterfront godowns,' CapitaLand Retail chief executive Pua Seck Guan said.

The company worked closely with renowned architectural firm Alsop to put in place several unique architectural features using innovative technologies.

Ken Low, the Singapore Tourism Board's assistant chief executive for brands and communications, said the mix of nightspots and food and beverage tenants complemented each other perfectly.

'Nowadays, people want to drink in one spot, go to another for dinner and then move on to a club,' he said, noting that the area also offered diversified clubbing experiences to reflect different tastes.