Dec 19, 2008


Lifestyle enclave to get bigger

By Michelle Tay

THE popular lifestyle enclave of Dempsey Hill is set to get even bigger.

Country City Investment, the team that developed the zone in Tanglin Village, has won the bidding for a new plot of land from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) that will add to its restaurants, bars and gourmet grocers.

The firm offered to pay rent of $378,300 on a three-year lease, renewable to 2018.

Country City general manager Nicholas Ng said the firm would spend '$2 to $3 million' on redeveloping the 20,000 sq m plot, which includes Blocks 13, 14, 15, 16 and 26 on Dempsey Road.

The main tenants now comprise a few furniture stores, which Country City plans to use as the basis for boosting Dempsey Hill's retail mix.

Mr Ng hopes to launch the new sector by the end of April next year.

To woo businesses in these difficult economic times, Country City said it will 'not only be offering competitive rents to new and current tenants', but also 'support them with various marketing activities'.

Mr Ng said that while Dempsey Hill's food and beverage tenants are 'still doing okay' in the downturn, the furniture retailers have reported that sales are 'down some 30 per cent'.

But he remained 'very confident' that the development will be launched within the next two quarters.

Country City already rents a cluster of seven buildings on a one-ha plot from SLA on a three-year lease renewable up to 2015.

Last year, it transformed the buildings, many of them former barracks for the British army, into various food and drink outlets, such as Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop, Harry's bar and Mexican restaurant Margarita's.

This was done in two phases. Dempsey Hill was launched in July last year and boasts about 20 restaurants, cafes, gourmet delis and bars.

Dempsey Hill Green, launched last December, is an extension of the original concept, with tenants including Samy's Curry, Long Beach Seafood and RedDot Brewhouse.

About $3 million was poured into developing Dempsey Hill, and a further $1 million to $2 million into Dempsey Hill Green.

Mr Ng said: 'It was natural for Country City to tender for the new blocks... because we already have two clusters and this one falls in between. It's good if we can manage the whole area.'