Makeover for *Scape to draw more visitors

Makeover for *Scape to draw more visitors
Underground, the revamped first level of *Scape, a community space for youths. This level houses stalls for young entrepreneurs.

ORCHARD Road youth hangout *Scape, a five-storey hub that includes shops and an outdoor space, will get a makeover this year to make it more of a draw.

While it has seen footfall pick up by 8 to 10 per cent a year in the last three years, its average monthly footfall of 440,000 is less than that at other malls, which can be more than a million.

Under the revamp, its 1,700 sq m outdoor Youth Plaza will be reconfigured to include a bandstand for music performances and more seating areas.

An indoor gallery where events and forums used to be held will be turned into a 100-seater hall for film screenings, recitals and talks.

"The physical spaces at *Scape will be refreshed. There will be more spaces and better equipment for our young Singaporeans to hone and display their talent," said Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Low Yen Ling in Parliament yesterday. A "first-stop centre" for youngsters to find out about youth events here is also in the works.

The mix of tenants in the hub will be also tweaked to include more popular brands and offerings such as blog shops and cafes.

New programmes for the year are expected to revolve around music, dance and media - areas which drew strong interest from the 1,000 young people consulted last year. For example, *Scape will host the inaugural National Youth Film Awards in July. The revamp aims to make it a more appealing place, where young people can pursue their passions and develop their talents.

*Scape, run by a non-profit organisation of the same name and sited next to the Cineleisure shopping mall, was opened in 2010.

Besides programmes, it offers affordable retail spaces to encourage young entrepreneurs, who can bid for an outdoor booth to sell goods part-time. Those who do well can rent a shop space in the basement full-time. The mall now houses about 110 youth start-ups and commercial tenants. Some 25 youth interest groups, from a show choir to a graffiti art group, also use the space for sports, performing and visual arts, and community projects.

Shortly after the space opened in 2010, tenants reported slow business and some asked for rents to be lowered.

"It can be quiet on weekdays but traffic picks up during the weekends due to the bazaar," said entrepreneur Jonathan Tan, 25, who used to have a booth at the bazaar. "The outdoor overhaul is a good idea because it can generate crowds which may then draw traffic indoors."

This article was first published on Mar 13, 2015.
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