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Nestled in the heart of Singapore’s lively Orchard Road shopping belt, Far East Shopping Centre is a multi-storey office cum shopping complex. It has a space of over 600 retail shops and food and beverage outlets.
In 1974, Far East Shopping Centre was built at a cost of $20 million, in response to the government’s call to develop Orchard Road into a premier shopping and tourist centre. Upon completion, the complex was the largest in the area at the time. The building consists of 2-storeys of basement mainly used for car parks, 5-storeys of podium for retail outlets, and 10- storeys of offices.
Far East Shopping Centre was a venture that proved to be successful, prompting its owner, Far East Organisation, to develop other shopping and office complexes in the area. Other notable developments owned by Far East Organisation include Lucky Plaza, Orchard Plaza, Far East Plaza and Claymore Plaza.
By 1984, Far East Organisation had developed eight buildings and malls along Orchard Road. Its founder, Ng Teng Fong, earned the nickname “King of Orchard Road” as a result.
Premier shopping and tourist centre
Far East Shopping Centre’s design incorporated contemporary technologies of the 1970s with mechanised lifts, escalators, and centralised air-conditioning installed to allow greater comfort and ease of movement for the visitors. At the time, the shopping centre held the record for being the mall with the greatest number of escalators in both Singapore and Malaysia.
Functionality and conduciveness were also key in the design of the centre. Office spaces were arranged as independent units to offer maximum privacy and unobstructed panoramic view of its surroundings. Shop units had spacious layouts and “double-side” display frontages to attract customers, while the wide corridors ease movements and enhance shoppers’ experience.
Housing over 600 stores, retailers sell everything from precious stones to golf kits and equipment, electronics, and both formal and informal clothing. A wide array of services can also be found at the centre, such as travel agents, moneychangers, tattoo studios and beauty parlours.
Far East Shopping Centre is a building of many firsts: it is not only the first shopping centre in Singapore to have an atrium and external escalators. It is also the first in the Orchard area to have an overhead pedestrian bridge which connects the complex to the opposite side of Orchard Road. The bridge, however, was eventually demolished for the widening of Orchard road in the early 1980s.
Orchard Road has since seen decades of transformation and is lined with a host of newer shopping centres today. Far East Shopping centre, which paved the way for Orchard Road to emerge as the retail heart of Singapore, remains an integral part of shopping district’s legacy.
Buildings and sites featured on Roots.gov.sg are part of our efforts to raise awareness of our heritage; a listing on Roots.gov.sg does not imply any form of preservation or conservation status, unless it is mentioned in the article. The information in this article is valid as of March 2020 and is not intended to be an exhaustive history of the site/building.