Plaza Singapore shopping complex at Orchard Road

Plaza Singapura was a shopping complex situated along Orchard Road that was developed by the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) to attract both tourists and locals. Then DBS Executive Vice-President S. Dhanabalan persuaded Yaohan, a Japanese department store chain, to establish a supermarket-cum-department store in the complex. Plaza Singapura was officially opened by then finance minister Hon Sui Sen in August 1974. The complex was closed down in 1997 to undergo a major overhaul and reopened in December 1998 without former anchor tenant Yaohan, which had gone bankrupt. New tenants in the complex popularly known as P.S. included: Liberty Market, a supermarket specialising in American goods that was run by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Fairprice Co-operative; Courts Orchard, the regional flagship store of the Courts chain that sold furnishings and electrical appliances; Daimaru, the Japanese department store chain; Food Adventure, a food court run by the Kopitiam group; and GV Plaza, the Golden Village cinema chain’s first cineplex located in the city area.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.