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Old Airport Road Hawker Centre to be closed for 4-month renovation from June

Old Airport Road Hawker Centre to be closed for renovation, stallholders hope business will improve

Old Airport Road Hawker Centre, known as a haven for lovers of hawker fare, is set to close for four months from June.

During this period, the building at 51 Old Airport Road will reportedly undergo renovation work.

Source: 51 Old Airport Road Food Centre & Shopping Mall 旧机场路饮食与购物中心 Group on Facebook

Stallholders have said they hope business will improve after the renovation.

Old Airport Hawker Centre closed from 1 June to 30 Sept

The closure of Old Airport Road Hawker Centre for renovation was reported by Shin Min Daily News on Sunday (14 April).

According to a photo of a leaflet posted on Google Maps, the works will be from 1 June to 30 Sep — a period of four months.

Source: Google Maps

Responding to queries from MS News, the National Environment Agency (NEA) confirmed the upcoming closure and renovation works. The agency said in its statement:

51 Old Airport Road Food Centre & Shopping Mall will be undergoing Repairs and Redecoration (R&R) from 1 June 2024 to 30 September 2024. The R&R will be conducted by Marine Parade Town Council.

As the stallholders are unable to continue operating their stalls during R&R due to the closure of the hawker centre/market, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will grant rental remission for the duration of the work. On request, NEA also offers temporary stalls to stallholders who wish to continue their business at other hawker centres/markets during the period of the R&R, subject to stall availability.

There will be no increase in stall rentals due to R&R.

At least 10 stalls seen to be empty

Old Airport Road Hawker Centre is one of Singapore’s largest, with 168 food stalls, many of them well-known.

 

However, at least 10 stalls there have been observed to be empty, with their signage removed.

Source: Shin Min Daily News

A drink-stall owner named only as Ms Hu (name transliterated from Mandarin) told Shin Min that competition there was fierce, with several long-established names and newcomers coming and going.

The 51-year-old also said that the upcoming four-month renovation in June may have affected business.

Mr Kelvin Khoo, president of the Old Airport Road Food Centre Merchants’ Association, said that as the hawker centre is the second-largest in Singapore, the number of empty stalls there would also appear to be larger.

According to NEA’s stipulations, typically about 10% of stalls should be halalcertified, he added.

Ms Hu said most of the empty stalls were reserved for halal food so not everybody could rent them.

Stall said to have moved because of upcoming renovation

Another stallholder named only as Ms Qin (name transliterated from Mandarin) said one of the empty stalls belonged to a bakery.

Their business was not bad, but when it came time to renew the rent, they decided to move to Serangoon instead, the 54-year-old added.

One consideration was the upcoming renovation, she claimed.

Hawker worried about getting regulars when Old Airport Centre is closed

A stallholder selling ayam penyet and mee soto said his business was not bad at the moment.

But he was worried about the upcoming renovation as he had just moved over from Punggol a month ago and may not be able to get regular customers due to the closure.

Stallholders who spoke to Shin Min said newcomers would need between six months and one year to gain loyal customers.

Source: Google Maps

Thus, newcomers interested in renting stalls in the centre would avoid doing so due to the closure, they added.

Stallholders hope business will improve after renovation

Nevertheless, some stallholders have expressed hopes that business will improve after the renovation.

Ms Hu said that footfall at Old Airport Road Hawker Centre had been decreasing recently and even the crowd at night wasn’t as big as it used to be.

She added that more customers were choosing to dine at air-conditioned eateries due to the hot weather.

A Western food stall owner said the decrease in footfall was due to an increase in dining options for customers.

Although the upcoming renovation would mean he would have to close for the time being, he looked forward to seeing the premises upgraded.

He hoped the new look would entice more customers, he added.

Also read: Yuhua Market & Hawker Centre to be closed for 3 months’ renovation, will install bowl collection system

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from 51 Old Airport Road Food Centre & Shopping Mall 旧机场路饮食与购物中心 Group on Facebook.

Jeremy Lee

Analog person making do with a digital world.

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