The Hotel Merlin was a residential, shopping, office and hotel complex located on a site between Beach Road and Nicoll Highway. Plans for the complex were announced in 1968 by the Urban Renewal Department of the Housing and Development Board, which was the government agency responsible for developing the Beach Road area into a ‘Golden Mile’ of luxury skyscrapers. A joint project between the Singapore government and the Merlin Hotel Group based in Malaysia and Hong Kong, the hotel opened for business in 1971 following the completion of the six-storey C-shaped block of the partially finished complex. Housed within the block were 260 rooms, a shopping arcade, coffee house, ‘Safari Bar’ and restaurant. The Las Vegas-based Webb International Hotel Corporation, then the world’s second largest casino operator, was appointed to manage the hotel. In 1972, the three-storey Merlin Shopping Centre was added to the hotel complex on the side facing Nicoll Highway. Merlin Plaza, a tower block housing offices and residential units, was built next to the complex in the late 1970s.