The lifestyle hub in Serangoon Gardens is trying to find its feet again after undergoing a revamp to liven up the place.
Since it was awarded the tenure for Burghley Lifestyle Hub in June, LHN Group has carried out renovation and landscaping works to spruce up the hub. But tenants who decided to stay on at the former Serangoon Garden Technical School hope that marketing efforts can be ramped up to draw crowds to the area.
The hub is about a 15-minute walk from Serangoon Garden Circus and offers enrichment activities such as dance, music and taekwon-do classes.
In June, a tenure of three years with the option to extend for another three was awarded by the Singapore Land Authority to LHN, the parent company of Hean Nerng Facilities Management, which has managed the place for the past four years.
Tenants had previously experienced power cuts, sewerage problems and termite infestations.
Raj Thurairajasingam, co-owner of The Right Fit gym, is happy with the renovation works completed in August, which included repainting the facade and toilet repairs, but hopes that more can be done to market the place.
"Many of my clients like the idea of a 24-hour gym," said the 32-year-old. "But if well-marketed, there's still a lot of potential for this area. Some of the residents don't even know we're here."
Resident Matthew Lim, who lives about five minutes away, agrees that more awareness should be created. He did not know about the hub until about a year ago, when his friend told him about it.
"Even if you live in the neighbourhood, you may not know about the place unless you walk around the corner," said the 34-year-old, who runs a distribution business.
Ganesh Kanapathy, director of White Lodge, Central North, said he decided to stay on as his fine-arts school for young children already has an "established business" at the hub. Residents in the area make up 30 per cent of the school's customers.
However, only half the tenants (five out of 10) have stayed on.
One tenant who moved out is My Art Studio, due to rising rents. Its business director, William Lee, 42, said his art school relocated to Ubi Road in June. He also had problems with termites in the area, which destroyed most of his art studio's wooden flooring.
"The management said they would do more to help with pest control but if they want to do excavation works, it will be a long-haul project," said Mr Lee. Still, he stressed that the problem was not the management's, but the nature of the location.
Rents have increased 15 per cent following the re-tender exercise, said LHN's group managing director, Kelvin Lim.
"Our successful bid (of $46,999) is more than 200 per cent above our previous bid," he said. "However, our rental rates to our tenants is a mere increase of 15 per cent and below $4.50 psf, which is a fraction of what other children-enrichment enclaves are charging."
Rising rents, however, are not the main issue for Lance Tang, co-owner of Dance Pointe Education group.
Like Mr Raj, he hopes more can be done to market the hub. "A typical set-up would take 11/2 years to reach its design capacity. We have been here for three years and we have not reached the capacity yet," said Mr Tang.
On ways to promote the hub, Mr Kelvin Lim told My Paper there will be marketing campaigns and promotional tie-ups, such as having charity flea markets. The group has also got various tenants on board to attract more visitors to the area.