Hub of activity

Hub of activity

Queues forming outside family restaurant Astons Specialties for their steaks. Families browsing the aisles at the sports-themed FairPrice Xtra, with a floor design that features running tracks. Peals of laughter ringing out from the open-air rooftop, where children are running around a water-play area.

In the middle of the action, rock climbers scale a three-storey wall Spidey-style as curious shoppers look on.

These are the lively sights in what is arguably Singapore's sportiest mall: Kallang Wave Mall, a place where you can eat, shop, play and exercise.

Over the past few months, it has become a weekend haunt for families in the Kallang area.

The 41,000 sq m mall, which was officially launched in February, boasts more than 30 food establishments, popular retail brands such as H&M and Uniqlo, a rooftop water park and even a soon- to-be-opened Japanese onsen and spa.

It is shaping up to be the most popular feature of the Singapore Sports Hub, a 35ha development that includes the OCBC Aquatic Centre, Singapore Sports Museum and Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Mall management SMRT Alpha says that more than 8 million visitors have visited the mall since its soft opening last June.

Athletic types will certainly find lots to do at Kallang Wave Mall. There are at least 12 shops and facilities to satisfy their sporting needs, including retailers New Balance and Sportslink.

Sales manager Haider Amir, 29, likes to go climbing at Climb Central, which boasts the highest indoor climbing walls in Singapore, taking up all three floors of the mall. The walls can be up to 16m tall.

He says: "Even if I forget to bring my sportswear, I can get one easily from the sports shops nearby and do my climb."

He lives in Tampines and goes to Sports Hub up to four times a month. Previously he visited the area only when there were concerts he wanted to catch at the National Stadium.

Tanjong Rhu resident Valerie Tan, who works in banking, also notes the increased liveliness of the area.

"The area is definitely more bustling now. The Sports Hub livens up the surroundings and the atmosphere of the place."

The 34-year-old has lived in Water Place, a condominium located along the Kallang River, for the past 10 years and remembers when the entire site was a construction site that generated a lot of dust.

Construction for the new Sports Hub started in 2010, after years of delays due to the 2008 financial crisis and soaring construction costs. Its doors finally opened in June last year and the sleepy vicinity is revitalised with multiple recreational, dining and retail options.

The Sports Hub is conveniently connected to town via Stadium MRT Station on the Circle Line, which opened in 2010.

On the other side of Stadium MRT is Leisure Park Kallang, an older mall which has been around since the 1980s. Though not strictly part of Sports Hub, it is likely to enjoy spillover effects from the area's revitalisation.

In a bid to keep up with the competition, the mall, which is managed by property developer Jack Investment, has been undergoing an $18-million revamp in stages since 2013. It is expected to be fully ready by June, with more tenants moving in.

So far, it boasts a new food street on its first floor with tenants such as Japanese restaurant Akashabu and vegetarian restaurant Clover 8. This brings the total number of eateries in the mall to 24, giving its new neighbour Kallang Wave Mall a run for the money.

So far, residents in the area have no complaints about the beefed-up dining and entertainment options in their neighbourhood - except for the occasional traffic jam when there are concerts at

the 55,000-seat National Stadium.

Tanjong Rhu resident Wen Ling, 30, laments that she has to find an alternative route home during concert days. On such days, she takes the train. If she drives, she goes by the East Coast Parkway expressway instead of a much shorter route via Nicoll Highway.

But the accountant admits that there are perks to living so near the National Stadium.

"I can hear the music from the concerts in my living room," she says. "Just last week, I was dancing along to One Direction during their concert."

nabilahs@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 20, 2015.
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