The historic Capitol Theatre in North Bridge Road will open its doors again in about a year, almost 17 years after it screened its last movie in 1998.
The former cinema, fondly known to many as The Grande Dame, is part of a major heritage redevelopment project, Capitol Singapore, covering 542,000 sq ft. The project, valued at around $1.1 billion, is nearly finished.
It comprises three conservation buildings - Capitol Theatre, Capitol Building and Stamford House - opposite St Andrews Cathedral.
They are being redeveloped by Capitol Investment Holdings, a joint venture between Perennial Real Estate Holdings' president Pua Seck Guan, Pontiac Land Group's co-owner Kwee Liong Seen and massage chair firm Osim's founder Ron Sim.
Mr Kwee said at a ceremony at the site yesterday that the building structure has been completed after two and a half years.
But extensive restoration works at the theatre, built in 1929, mean the public will have to wait a little longer to set foot in it. "(The opening) ties in with the celebration of Singapore's 50th birthday next year," said Mr Pua.
Capitol Theatre's opening act, Singapura The Musical, will be staged by The 4th Wall Theatre Company, and will be centred on former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's nation-building journey.
Other than performances and movies, the theatre can also host events such as gala dinners as its 900 seats can be hidden at the press of a button with a computerised system, said Mr Pua.
By the end of this year, the project's retail offerings, a 39-unit residential component named Eden Residences Capitol, and a 157-room six-star hotel The Patina Capitol will be completed.
Mr Pua also said 40 per cent of the retail space had been taken up, and that shoppers can expect brands and restaurants that will be new to Singapore.
On the residential front, he said 14 units had been sold. "The residential isn't a big part of our project, it's only about 25 per cent of the entire development."
This article was published on April 4 in The Straits Times.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.