Cairnhill Place carpark closing for revamp

But mosque at the building will stay open during redevelopment works

Published on Oct 02, 2012

Tenants in Cairnhill Place such as Sakura International Buffet Restaurant, Dreamz Kabuki nightclub and a few tour agencies will call it a day within the next three weeks as the property undergoes redevelopment. -- PHOTOS: SEAH KWANG PENG, CAPITALAND

By Goh Shi Ting

DRIVERS will have one less place to park in Orchard when the eight-storey Cairnhill Place carpark closes on Oct 28.

The facility, which has 820 carpark spaces, is part of a property - Cairnhill Place - that, until last week, also housed the Somerset Grand Cairnhill serviced apartments.

The property's new owner, real estate giant CapitaLand, told The Straits Times that the 23-year-old carpark will make way for a new one, as part of plans to redevelop the site.

But Al-Falah Mosque, on the first floor of Cairnhill Place, will stay open.

In July, CapitaLand said it had paid $359 million to buy the property from its subsidiary Ascott Residence Trust.

The redevelopment blueprint includes plans for a condominium and a serviced apartment business that will also have a hotel licence to serve both short- and long-term guests.

The new carpark, with 345 spaces for cars and 120 for motorcycles for public use, is expected to be completed in 2016.

The Cairnhill Place carpark was one of the cheapest downtown carparks until a sudden hike in rates in 2008.

Now, the rates, at $3 for the first hour during weekdays before 5pm, are comparable to those levied in nearby carparks in Paragon, Mandarin Gallery and Comcentre.

"I think the Cairnhill carpark is the best carpark in the area. Drivers don't get caught in the peak hour traffic jam because it's near the CTE (Central Expressway)," said Ms Nancy Lim, owner of Spa Valley, a tenant in Cairnhill Place. "The carpark spaces are also wider and that's good for woman drivers like me."

A spokesman for the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore said the Al-Falah mosque's management is working closely with the developer to minimise inconvenience to its operations and will keep its congregation updated.

The mosque, built in 1987, traces its roots to Angullia Mosque in Angullia Park, which closed after the site was converted to retail office complex Wheelock Place.

Muslim devotees are relieved that the mosque, the only one in Orchard Road, will be spared from the revamp.

"Even when we go shopping, we also need a place to fulfil our religious obligations," said salesman Roslee Miskun, 48, who works at The Centrepoint nearby and goes to Al-Falah to pray three to four times a day.

Cairnhill Place is the latest building in its part of Orchard Road to join the construction frenzy. The Heeren mall, 286 Orchard Road and Wellington Building are also being redeveloped while at least two residential projects behind Cairnhill Place are being built.

Tenants in Cairnhill Place such as Sakura International Buffet Restaurant, Dreamz Kabuki nightclub and a few tour agencies will call it a day within the next three weeks.

The 300-seat Sakura, which has been there for less than two years, will serve its diners for the last time on Oct 21.

Next-door neighbour Spa Valley will close its 3,000 sq ft outlet on Oct 16, before its 10-year lease ends, and relocate to a Cuppage Terrace shophouse nearby.

"The move has been smooth as we were given ample notice and the developer didn't require us to reinstate the property," said Spa Valley owner Ms Lim.

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