Ngee Ann City shopping and office complex at Orchard Road

Ngee Ann City was a shopping-cum-office complex built on a plot of land along Orchard Road that was formerly part of the ‘Tai Shan Ting’ cemetery. The burial ground, which was managed by the Ngee Ann Kongsi Teochew clan association, was cleared in 1957 with parts of the site subsequently leased out to the developers of Mandarin Hotel, Cathay Cineleisure Orchard and Wisma Atria. The Ngee Ann City site was previously occupied by the ten-storey Ngee Ann Building. Jointly developed by Orchard Square Development Corporation and Ngee Ann Development (itself a partnership between Ngee Ann Kongsi and the Takashimaya Company of Japan), Ngee Ann City was officially opened in September 1993 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. The Takashimaya department store became the main tenant of the sprawling complex, which had over 110,000 square metres of retail space and two office towers.Orchard Road, located in the central region of Singapore, began as a small country lane in the 1830s surrounded by nutmeg plantations, with spice gardens, pepper farms and fruit tree orchards later sprouting up in the area. Its name was thought to have been derived either from the orchards that once flanked either sides of the lane, or from a Mr. Orchid, who was a plantation owner in the area. By 1860, there were only a few nutmeg plantations left in the area following the worldwide drop in nutmeg prices. The areas surrounding Orchard Road were subsequently developed for residential purposes, with private houses and bungalows common along nearby Scotts and Tanglin Roads. One of the first major retailers to setup shop in the area was the Singapore Cold Storage, which opened a grocery shop along the street in 1905. However, major development of the area only began in the 1960s and by the 1970s, Orchard Road had been transformed into the tourist and shopping belt it is today.