AAS bids goodbye to River Valley

AAS bids goodbye to River Valley

Amid the gleaming condominiums and shophouses along River Valley Road, a 14-storey beigebrown tower stands out.

For almost half a century, the building's location has been synonymous with the Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS), which was set up in 1907.

But not anymore.

The move is tinged with nostalgia for veteran AAS members like Dr Sim Wee Kiat.

''It's a bit of a heartache,'' said the 77-year-old consultant orthodontist, who has been a member since 1981.

''When people say AA, they only remember River Valley.''

Private school lecturer Christine Keung, 53, agreed: ''That building was unique. It had its own identity. I would always use it as a landmark when giving directions to others.''

The AA Centre began as a humble two-storey colonial-era house in 1967, when the association acquired the premises. AAS had previously operated from rented office spaces in Battery Road, and later Orchard Road.

After it caught fire thrice - twice in 1978 and again in 1979 - AA House, as it was then called, was later rebuilt and renamed what is now known as AA Centre.

AAS owned the first six floors, three of which comprised offices and guest facilities such as a jackpot room and a theatrette, while the rest of the building housed apartments occupied by private owners.

Far East Organization, which bought over the six floors for close to $62 million, plans to renovate the place and house its own offices there.

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