Powerhouse turns toxic

It is called Toxic, but it will certainly be hoping to be more of an antidote.

Due to open on Thursday, the new mainstream dance club will cater to an English-speaking crowd.

It takes over the 12,000-plus sq ft space that used to be Powerhouse at St James Power Station, which closed its doors quietly at the end of July.

It will be the third property out of a total of nine at the venue neither wholly nor jointly owned by St James Holdings - after karaoke bar Rain and the club Gossip, which replaced The New Paper Sports Bar and The Boiler Room respectively earlier this year.

The changes at St James Power Station, said Mr Gordon Foo, 31, coordinating director of operations at St James Holdings, are all part of a blueprint drawn up 1½ years ago.

St James Power Station started as an all-in-one entertainment destination curated by Mr Foo's father, nightclub veteran Dennis Foo, and the St James team.

They are now focusing on their "core business" - live entertainment - and preferring to get others to either wholly or jointly manage other types of nightlife outlets.

Said Mr Foo: "We faced the manpower challenge of handling so many clubs at the same time.

"We are changing our company direction to do more partnerships. We are also getting people with expertise to manage outlets with different concepts."


St James Power Station has also rejigged some of its own outlet concepts.

The mainstream dance music of Powerhouse has been scaled down to a smaller room within the venue, named District One.

Jazz bar Bellini Room made way for a lounge with live Mandarin music called Club Deluxe in February.

Mr Foo said: "We realised that there has been a shift in consumer preferences. For dance clubs, smaller is better, so we moved the Powerhouse concept to a smaller space."

The folks behind Toxic, Mr Terence Lim, 35, and two silent partners, will be looking to offer an interesting new concept to revellers.

For one, Toxic, like its Thai neighbour Neverland II, will be open until 6am.

"I think that will be very enticing to clubbers, especially since the new rules hit Clarke Quay," said Mr Lim, who owns three Thai clubs (Planet Paradise at Liang Court, Allure at Orchard Plaza and Club De Kenzo at Jalan Besar).

In July, nightspots in Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay were affected by new guidelines that do not allow the serving of alcohol after 3am on Sundays and weekdays, and after 4am on Saturdays and the eve of public holidays.

Mr Lim was candid about the challenge of luring customers to a venue that had seen a decline in interest in recent years.

"We are hoping to give people a different experience which rates service at a premium," he said. "We will also have Eurasian and European servers and dancers."

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