THE nightlife scene in Circular Road is set to change with the entry of a new major player and a new trial to pedestrianise the street on weekends.
Limited Edition Concepts, which owns nightclub Club Kyo in Cecil Street and upscale bistro lounge The Vault in Chinatown, has inked an $8 million deal to take over the master lease of 28 shophouse units from Octopus Holdings, the group behind Eski Bar and Liquid Kitchen.
The Vault will move from its home in South Bridge Road to Circular Road by next month, and by next March, Limited Edition will launch new food and beverage and nightlife businesses there, and sublet some units to others.
Started last April, the Singapore-based company is managed by four partners: Mr Godwin Pereira, 39; Irish national Ross Glasscoe, 33; Indian national Hemant Tucker, 38; and Frenchman Xavier Meit, 37.
Mr Pereira was a music director in the early days of nightclub Ministry of Sound at Clarke Quay and Marina Bay Sands nightspot Ku De Ta, while Mr Glasscoe was operation director for pub chain Gaelic Inns, boutique hotel The Club Hotel and Harry's Holdings.
The duo oversee operations and marketing for Club Kyo and The Vault full-time, while Mr Tucker, a managing director of a wealth management firm, and Mr Meit, a strategic analyst at a bank, take care of business development and finance matters.
Limited Edition's deal sees it acquiring around 28,000 sq ft of space, effectively making it the anchor tenant in Circular Road. The master lease will last between six and 10 years for the units.
It is banking on foot traffic to increase when the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) starts a trial to pedestrianise the area on weekends.
From Nov 1, a 250m-stretch of Circular Road will be closed off to traffic from 6pm to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays for three months. The road is home to more than a dozen watering holes, restaurant-bars and bottle shops.
Singapore River One, a non-profit organisation which represents Singapore's riverfront businesses, had submitted a request to pedestrianise the road to the URA in July.
Mr Pereira, who estimates that about 150,000 people go through Circular Road each month, said: "We saw potential to revitalise the street. We thought it was rather neglected."
He said there may be "foreign concepts, possibly from Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Japan", looking to set up shop in the area. "We want to make the area slightly bohemian yet sophisticated, and nothing too rowdy. Like Covent Garden in London."
Source: Straits Times, 24 oct 2013