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McDonald's Place set for redevelopment

King Albert Park outlet is popular hangout for students and residents

The Straits Times - April 14, 2012
By: Ng Kai Ling

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McDonald's Place set for redevelopment-- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

STUDENTS at schools near King Albert Park will need to look for a new hangout when McDonald's Place is redeveloped.

Home to tenants like McDonald's and Cold Storage, the two-storey commercial building on freehold land was recently sold for $150 million.

The Straits Times understands that the new owner, Oxley Holdings, intends to develop the 5,534.8 sq m site - at the junction of Clementi and Bukit Timah roads - for both commercial and residential use.

Tenants told The Straits Times that they have not been informed by the building's management when they have to move.

A McDonald's spokesman could not provide more information on its plans or comment on how it would be affected by the sale. The company also has its corporate headquarters there.

Opened in 1991, the fast-food outlet is popular among students from schools in the area such as Methodist Girls' School, St Margaret's Secondary School, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM). They go to the 24-hour restaurant for meals, and to socialise with friends or study.

SIM student Kirat Singh said the outlet is a meeting point for him and his friends. 'We come here every day. It's near our school and it's a nice place to study in and hang out,' said the 18-year-old.

Jasmine Mehaffay, a Secondary 4 student at St Margaret's, said she and her friends would have to look for an alternative when McDonald's in King Albert Park closes.

The 16-year-old said: 'We prefer to study outside together instead of at home. Maybe we will move to Serene Centre, but the vibe here is better and there are many other young people here.'

Serene Centre in Dunearn Road is about 4km away.

Other McDonald's Place tenants are worried that their businesses will be affected, as their leases could be cut short.

Mr Marc Dass, commercial manager at Peranakan eatery Chinta Manis, said it opened last July after signing a three-year lease with the building's previous owner, Valewood Investments.

He added: 'We had done our projections based on the lease period, so we are concerned about how we are going to recover our investment.'

Mr Stanley Kwok, owner of ice-cream parlour Island Creamery, is reluctant to leave the 'attractive location' after opening there in 2010.

'It is near many schools and many of our customers also live in the area. It would be a pity if we cannot stay on here,' he said.

Apart from students, residents of the area said they will also miss the place after any redevelopment.

Retiree and long-time resident of the area Catherine Chew, 63, said her two grown-up daughters - who used to attend Methodist Girls' School - were also regulars at King Albert Park.

She added: 'I didn't mind them going there, at least I knew where they were. We live nearby so I would call them and they could easily go home.'

Mrs Chatporn Doerflinger, 55, who moved to Singapore from Thailand just two weeks ago, has already grown to appreciate the presence of the Cold Storage supermarket.

'It's so convenient for me. I come here at least two to three times a week. I can find everything I need here,' said the housewife.

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