Zouk and Singapore Flyer: Perfect for each other?

Zouk and Singapore Flyer: Perfect for each other?

Both are modern Singapore icons whose futures are hanging in the balance.

One is facing financial woes and looking for a buyer to turn a good profit; the other is facing the threat of closure when its current lease expires. Could the Singapore Flyer provide a new home for Zouk, answering both their problems?

One man who thinks so is 67-year-old Lincoln Cheng, the founder of Zouk nightclub who has set his sights on the ferris wheel - one of the largest in the world.

"The location is just on the fringe of the Central Business District," he told The Sunday Times in an exclusive interview.

"We can do day business, have a restaurant to serve lunch. We can have a happy hour, to cater to the after-office-hour crowd, like Balaclava before. Right now we open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. There, we can open Monday to Saturday. Our operating hours can be longer."

With more than 10,000 revellers from Singapore, Asia and other parts of the world visiting Zouk every week, the 23-year-old nightspot could just be the right tenant to get the Flyer turning in the right direction.

Mr Cheng said he contacted Adval Brand Group, which handles sales and marketing for the Singapore Flyer, some time in 2012.

"Adval told me that the company is in financial difficulty and can't lease the land to us until the (financial) problem is resolved," said Mr Cheng, who later approached the receiver of the Singapore Flyer after the company that ran it went bankrupt.

"They told us to wait for the tenderers to come in. It's been a year and we are still waiting for the results."

Zouk shot to international fame in 1993 when it was featured in British magazine The Face. Since then, it has been well documented in the international media, promoting Singapore's nightlife to a worldwide audience in notable publications ranging from Mixmag and Rolling Stone to The Wall Street Journal and Time.

Actress and entrepreneur Irene Ang said: "Whenever I have overseas visitors, like Korean boy bands, Hong Kong stars, friends and delegates, they ask me to take them to Zouk. They never ask me to take them to see the Merlion."

Zouk was valued at $40 million by financial audit firm Ernst & Young last year and has won the prestigious Best Nightspot Experience award from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) a record nine times.

Mr Cheng invested $10 million in 1991 to turn the conserved warehouse next to Singapore River into today's renowned nightspot.

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