If you take the MRT along the western stretch of the East-West line frequently, you will be familiar with the gigantic Clementi Mall and the adjacent CityVibe. However, behind these 2 new buildings is an old community that is slowly disappearing beneath our very eyes.
Clementi Mall towering over Blk 442
The Clementi Town Centre was developed by HDB from 1975 to 1979, at approximately the former site of Colombo Camp. Prior to this, private housing estates such as Sussex Estate (demolished in 1997; currently stands Casa Clementi) and Clementi Housing Estate (also demolished; at the approximate site of current Kent Vale University Housing of NUS) existed in the vicinity.
Clementi was named after Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, Governor of the Straits Settlements and High Commissioner. Clementi Road was formerly known as Reformatory Road
Clementi Town Centre – before and after
West Coast Town Council (Blk 444)
The headquarters of the town council used to be located in Blk 444. In contrast to the adjacent flats, the facade of this building was not painted nor polished, giving it a monumental feel. There were also retail spaces in this block, housing amenities such as tuition centres. When the Clementi Mall was completed, the Town Council moved over to the more convenient location.
The bare concrete façade
The entrance to the Town Council
Demolition work began in mid 2012.
Tuition centres occupied the top levels
Blk 445 was a 4-storey flat that stood along Clementi Ave 3, between the Town Council building and Empress Cineplex.
Blk 445 Clementi Avenue 3
The shops were closed and the place was deserted
In 2005, Block 445 was selected, together with Blk 436 to 438, for SERS. Residents moved in to the new 40 storey flats above Clementi Mall, and the block was demolished in 2012.
Sand-based sparrow playground
The sparrow playground is one of the many animal-themed playgrounds designed by HDB prior to the 1990s. It was demolished together with the adjacent blocks.
The steps formed the body while the two slides were its “wings”
A small playground left forgotten in an old neighbourhood
This plot of land will be redeveloped as Clementi Crest, consisting of 2 tower blocks and a multi-storey car park.
Clementi used to have 2 cinemas operating in close proximity to each other. One of them is the Empress Cineplex. Opened in 1975, this cineplex was operated by Eng Wah (now known as WE Cinemas). It housed a KFC outlet and an arcade known as Wywy Wonderspace. All of these closed down in July 2006.
A peak at the Wywy Wonderspace poster
Demolition works started in the 2nd half of 2011, and a new 6-storey cineplex called 321 Clementi, managed by WE Cinemas, was opened in 2015.
Demolition in progress
The other cinema was the Commonwealth (Clementi) Theatre. The iconic pink cuboid-shaped building was visible next to Clementi MRT Station. It also housed a McDonald’s on the ground floor and Party World KTV on the upper floors. In front of it was a huge stepped fountain that flowed between Blocks 442 and 449. The theatre was demolished and CityVibe stands in its place now. Party World KTV continues to operate in the new premise, but there are no longer any cinemas in the area. A smaller fountain, located beside Clementi Mall, serves as a tribute to the older fountain.
Demolished: 2012 to 2013
Clementi Temporary Bus Interchange
Clementi Bus Interchange was opened in 1980. It was a small and cramped interchange, which flooded frequently during rainy weather. In 2006, a temporary interchange was constructed on the other side of Clementi Avenue 3 while the old interchange was demolished to make way for the new air-conditioned interchange and the Clementi Mall.
The interchange was cordoned off once the new interchange was opened
The temporary interchange stood at the site of Blocks 439 and 440, which were announced for SERS in 1997. By November 2011, the new interchange was completed, and the temporary interchange ceased operations. It has since been demolished.
Demolition in progress
Demolition for Blk 437
These 3 blocks of flats behind the temporary interchange was announced for SERS in 2005, and were demolished together with the temporary interchange.
Blk 436 and Blk 438
File Last Updated: July 8, 2015