Rivervale Plaza - renewed, refreshed

Rivervale Plaza - renewed, refreshed
Upgrading works came to a standstill when the contractor went bust. Today, the mall boasts a modern facade and an air-conditioned interior with new escalators (above). -ST

Rivervale Plaza is finally ready.

For two years, Sengkang's oldest mall was in shambles. Mired in construction woes, shoppers endured dust and congested passageways while the losses mounted for tenants.

A $10 million upgrade was delayed after initial contractor Technobuilt went bust. The saga became a hot-button issue in January's Punggol East by-election.

Now, the hoardings have peeled away to reveal a bold red-and-grey mall, with a modernist facade of glass and steel at Block 118 Rivervale Drive.

And Sengkang's shoppers are returning, along with the smiles on tenants' faces.

"Business dropped by half when construction work was delayed.

Now we're even seeing 10 per cent more profits than before the renovations," said Mr Robin Tan, 51, who owns a religious goods store.

Corridors are brightly lit, the tiles are shiny and the entire plaza is air-conditioned - a far cry from the drab two-storey open-air complex it once was.

The Housing Board, which manages the mall, also expanded the floor area of the plaza's existing shops, put in new escalators and upgraded the toilets.

Not everything has changed though. Mom-and-pop stores such as bakeries, a provision shop and a stationery outlet, dating back to the plaza's early days in 1999, still line its perimeter.

These 38 stores, the existing supermarket, wet market, food courts and tuition centres are complemented by 10 new shops and 24 retail and food kiosks, selling Japanese and Western cuisine, for instance.

All the units and kiosks have been rented out and most of them have already started operating. Housewife Hayati Tohid, 48, believes the revamp was worth the wait.

"I like how it is air-conditioned now and that important shops are on our doorstep. We used to have to travel to places like Geylang Serai to get our shopping done," she said.

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