The Telok Ayer Food Centre and Shenton Way skyline

The first Telok Ayer Market was a fish market opened in 1824 that was housed in a simple timber structure located along the Telok Ayer shoreline. A new octagonal-shaped building designed by colonial architect George D. Coleman was built in the 1830s to replace the original structure, which was considered to be structurally unsafe. Following land reclamation works around the Telok Ayer Basin in 1879, work began on a replacement building for the market on the newly reclaimed land in 1890. Designed by municipal engineer James MacRitchie, the new structure was built in the Victorian style using prefabricated cast-iron from Glasgow and retained the octagonal shape of its predecessor. Opened in 1894, the new Telok Ayer Market stood largely intact until 1970 when the government decided to convert the market into a modern food centre catering to office workers in the nearby Shenton Way financial district. The Telok Ayer Food Centre was opened in 1973 and the building housing it was gazetted as a national monument that same year. In 1986, the structure was dismantled and its cast-iron pieces stored away to avoid further damage caused by tunnelling works for the Mass Rapid Transit system. In 1989, the structure was reassembled and renovated with funding from the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board. It was subsequently leased out and reopened in 1992 as the Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, a food and entertainment complex catering to tourists and locals. The market was subsequently revamped into a 24-hour food court under the Kopitiam Group in 1996.