Peninsula Plaza

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The facade of Peninsula Plaza featuring the Gothic arches on the podium level of the complex.

Peninsula Plaza is a 30-storey mixed-use building located at 111 North Bridge road.[1][2] It consists of a 24-storey office tower and 6-storey shopping complex. Commonly known as Singapore’s Little Burma, the shopping complex houses a variety of speciality stores selling Burmese products.[3]

Opening

According to a Business Times article, the popular shoe brand Bata opened its new premier store at Peninsula Plaza on 29 April 1978.[4] However, The Straits Times reported that Peninsula Plaza, along with the majority of its shops, was due to open on 3 November 1979.[5]


As a marketing strategy[6] and an incentive for shops to open on time, a lucky draw and window display competition were held, each with prizes up to S$30,000.[7] The shop with the most impressive window display would be awarded S$7,000 while the second and third prize amounted to S$4,000 and S$2,000 respectively. In addition, seven consolation prizes of S$1,000 each would also be given.[8]

Little Burma

One of the Burmese minimarts in Peninsula Plaza. Photo from MM Odyssey.

Over the years, Peninsula Plaza evolved into a destination patronised mainly by Burmese workers in Singapore. Most of the shops cater to the Burmese community such as travel and visa agencies, speciality minimarts and family-run eateries serving authentic Burmese cuisine.[9] Peninsula Plaza also houses a Burmese language library and stores selling longyi, the Burmese traditional garment.[10]

Other than that, the shopping complex features an array of stores selling sports shoes, tourist souvenirs and photography equipment.

Notable incident

On 4 June 2017, eight Myanmar nationals were arrested for rioting after getting into a fight with three other Myanmar nationals over cigarettes. On 13 October 2017, seven of the accused were sentenced to 12 months in jail for rioting. According to District Judge Imran Abdul Hamid, the sentencing was said to be a deterrent so that “Little Myanmar” will not go down the path of Little India, in reference to the 2013 Little India riot.[11]

Architecture

A graphic comparing the size of Peninsula Plaza (second from right) with the surrounding buildings. Photo from State of Buildings.

Peninsula Plaza was designed by Alfred Wong Partnership, the architecture firm behind the old Singapore National Theatre and Orchard Gateway.[12] It is made up of a 24-storey office tower that sits atop a 6-storey shopping complex.[13] The building’s facade is laced by numerous column arches having been inspired by Gothic design.


The size and shape of the structure were designed with the consideration of the neighbouring buildings.[14] The height and width of the 6-storey podium match the scale of the City Hall and the old Supreme Court which has now been re-purposed as the National Gallery Singapore.[15]


Levels 6 to 9 features a narrower portion of the building which aligns with the St Andrew’s Cathedral. This part of the building serves as an intermediate section between the podium level and the tower block. From a design perspective, this section reduces the obvious height difference between the building's two other components.[16]

History

Siam House (bottom left) occupied the site of Peninsula Plaza in the 1800s.

Before Peninsula Plaza, the plot of land that the shopping complex occupies housed the private residence of the Consul for Siam and subsequently, the Meyer Mansions.

Siam House

In the late 19th century, the plot of land which Peninsula Plaza now occupies housed the residence of a businessman and philanthropist, Tan Kim Cheng, who is the eldest son of Tan Tock Seng.[17] The family residence was known as the Siam House, mainly due to Tan Kim Cheng's appointment as the Consul for Siam at the time.[18] Tan Kim Cheng lived in the family residence until his death in 1892.

Meyer Mansions

By the 1920s, the plot of land had been developed into a five-storey mixed-use complex known as the Meyer Mansions. The land had been bought by the property developer Manasseh Meyer. The complex consisted of office,[19] commercial and residential units.[20] It was considered the first flatted residence in Singapore. Based on a newspaper report from 1933, it also housed a dance studio.[21] In 1936, it was reported that the entire ground floor of Meyer Mansions were made up of commercial shops owned by Indian sports goods dealers.[22]


On 13 April 1950, Meyer Mansions was put up for auction at the upset price of S$1,500,000.[23] By 1968, Meyer Mansions had already been partially demolished although the ground floor stores were still intact and in operation.[24]

References / Citations

  1. Kok, Denise. “Off The Beaten Track: Peninsula Plaza”. Singapore Tatler. January 11, 2015. Accessed on 21 June 2019. Retrieved from: https://sg.asiatatler.com/dining/off-the-beaten-track-peninsula-plaza
  2. Rashiwala, Kalpana. “20th storey of Peninsula Plaza for sale at $21m”. The Business Times. October 22, 2013. Accessed on 21 June 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/20th-storey-of-peninsula-plaza-for-sale-at-21m
  3. “Peninsula Plaza: Singapore’s Little Burma”. Ghetto Singapore. November 26, 2013. Accessed on 21 June 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.ghettosingapore.com/peninsula-plaza-singapores-little-burma/
  4. “Bata At Peninsula”. Business Times. April 28, 1978. Accessed on 27 June 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  5. “$30,000 bonanza for shops at Peninsula Plaza”. The Straits Times. October 26, 1979. Accessed on 27 June 201.9 Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  6. "Time to smarten our window displays says Brown". The Straits Times. September 4, 1979. Accessed on 16 July 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  7. “$30,000 bonanza for shops at Peninsula Plaza”. The Straits Times. October 26, 1979. Accessed on 27 June 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  8. “$20,000 for smart windows at Peninsula Plaza”. The Straits Times. October 9, 1979. Accessed on 27 June 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  9. “Peninsula Plaza: Singapore’s Little Burma”. Ghetto Singapore. November 26, 2013. Accessed on 21 June 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.ghettosingapore.com/peninsula-plaza-singapores-little-burma/
  10. Peninsula Plaza. Accessed on 16 July 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.peninsulaplaza.com.sg/
  11. Teoh, Hannah. “Seven Myanmar nationals jailed for 12 months for rioting at Peninsula Plaza”. Yahoo News. October 13, 2017. Accessed on 27 June 2019. Retrieved from: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/seven-myanmar-nationals-jailed-12-months-rioting-peninsula-plaza-064929774.html
  12. “Civic + Culture”. AWP Architects. Accessed on 27 June 2019. Retrieved from: http://awparchitects.com/projects/civic-cultural/
  13. Mui, Rachel. “Three adjoining office units at Peninsula Plaza up for sale with S$9.29m guide price”. The Business Times. April 24, 2019. Accessed on 21 June 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/three-adjoining-office-units-at-peninsula-plaza-up-for-sale-with-s929m-guide-price
  14. Tan, Eugene. “Peninsula Plaza”. State of Buildings. Accessed on 21 June 2019. Retrieved from: https://stateofbuildings.sg/places/peninsula-plaza
  15. "CELEBRATING THE RICH HISTORY OF THE BUILDING". National Gallery Singapore. Accessed on 16 July 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.nationalgallery.sg/about/building/history
  16. Tan, Eugene. “Peninsula Plaza”. State of Buildings. Accessed on 21 June 2019. Retrieved from: https://stateofbuildings.sg/places/peninsula-plaza
  17. “Tan Kim Ching”. Resources Guides. October 5, 2018. Accessed on 21 June 2019. Retrieved from: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/resourceguides/tan-kim-ching/
  18. "UNKNOWN". Straits Times Weekly Issue. March 1, 1892. Accessed on 16 July 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  19. "Page 21 Advertisements Column 2". Malayan Saturday Post. September 12, 1925. Accessed on 16 July 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  20. "MEYER MANSIONS THEFT". Malaya Tribune. November 30, 1936. Accessed on 16 July 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  21. "Page 12 Advertisements Column 4". Malaya Tribune. June 20, 1933. Accessed on 16 July 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  22. "Untitled". Morning Tribune. May 9, 1936. Accessed on 16 July 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  23. “$6 Mil. Property For Auction”. The Singapore Free Press. April 12, 1950. Accessed on 27 June 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  24. "Heavy fire damage at photo shop". The Straits Times. September 24, 1968. Accessed on 16 July 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.