Clementi Avenue 3 Estate

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 Avenue 3 03
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

West Coast Town Council 06West Coast Town Council 07
Clementi Town Centre – before and after

West Coast Town Council (Blk 444)
Status: Lost
Demolished: 2012

West Coast Town Council 03
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.

West Coast Town Council 01
The bare concrete façade
West Coast Town Council 02
The entrance to the Town Council

Demolition work began in mid 2012.

West Coast Town Council 04
Tuition centres occupied the top levels
West Coast Town Council 05
Louvred panels

Blk 445 Clementi Ave 3
Status: Lost
Demolished: 2012

Blk 445 was a 4-storey flat that stood along Clementi Ave 3, between the Town Council building and Empress Cineplex.

Clementi Avenue 3 02
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.

Clementi Avenue 3 07
After demolition

Sparrow Playground
Status: Lost
Demolished: 2014

Clementi Sparrow Playground 01
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.

Clementi Sparrow Playground 02
The steps formed the body while the two slides were its “wings”
Clementi Sparrow Playground 03
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.

Empress Cineplex 华声戏院
Status: Lost
Demolished: 2011

Clementi Empress Cineplex 01
Empress Cineplex

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.

Clementi Empress Cineplex 04
A peak at the Wywy Wonderspace poster
Clementi Empress Cineplex 02
Empress Cineplex

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.

Clementi Empress Cineplex 03
Demolition in progress

Commonwealth Theatre 联邦戏院
Status: Lost
Demolished: 2008

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.

Clementi Temporary Bus Interchange
Constructed: 2006
Status: Lost
Demolished: 2012 to 2013

Clementi Temporary Bus Interchange 01
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.

Clementi Temporary Bus Interchange 02
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.

Clementi Temporary Bus Interchange 03
Demolition in progress

Blk 436 to Blk 438 Clementi Ave 3
Status: Lost
Demolished: 2013

Clementi Avenue 3 04
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.

Clementi Avenue 3 05
Clementi Avenue 3 06
Blk 436 and Blk 438

File Last Updated: July 8, 2015

25 responses to “Clementi Avenue 3 Estate

  1. Thank you for documenting the changes in Clementi.

    I have lived in Clementi for 3+ decades, and the changes of recent years are simply overwhelming. New bus interchange, new mall, and new demographics (lotsa foreigners), new shops etc.

    Other changes that you may not be aware of:

    1) That POSB ATM next to the Town Council building is gone.
    2) Big Bookshop on Level 3 of Blk 451 is closed for good… after being in business from 1988-2012.
    3) There used to be a pet shop (Clementi Birds Centre) and an electrical goods store (Soon Ho Electrical Centre) in Clementi Ave 3, now they are no more.
    4) Hu Clinic in Clementi Ave 3 Blk 433 is now gone. E. L. Chin Family Clinic And Surgery had moved from Blk 445 to Blk 432, and Hu Clinic must have been unable to take the heat of competition. :p


    Another fond memory of the West Coast Town Council building. Due to electoral boundary changes, it used to be called Tanjong Pagar or Ayer Rajah or Brickworks Town Council… can’t remember for sure. Anyway, on the side of the building adjacent to the coffeeshop, there’s a raised alcove with a window inside it. When I was a kid, I would climb onto the alcove and tiptoe to try and peek into the window. But I wasn’t tall enough.

  2. Thanks for sharing! When did Big Bookshop close down? It was still there when I went earlier this year… I loved how it was such a serene place within the bustling town, where I could browse books in peace…

    I also remember there used to be a TOPS department store on the ground floor… at where Courts now occupy, if I remember correctly.

  3. Nice memories of the estate.

    Art Friends is occupying the former Big Bookshop space and was opened on 17 Jan 2014.

    The sparrow playground is no longer there when I was there earlier this week.

  4. Big Bookshop gave way to Artfriends earlier this 2014. The Sparrow playground has also given way to a new road connecting carparks of Blk 443 & 445

  5. Why nobody mentioned about used to have an A&W restaurant at Blk 445? A&W was Just outside sparrow playground.
    Before TOPS department store, it was an Emporium which occupy ground floor and 2nd floor. Clementi ployclinic was just next door opposite Emporium on the 2nd floor.

    • Oh now that you’ve mentioned it, I almost forgot about the A&W there… only been there a couple of times but couldn’t remember it’s exact location…

  6. And the dove playground just outside Clementi Food centre (in between 448 & 449). A tower clock just outside Bata shop. All these are worth mentioned too.

    • Not to mention the demolition of Clementi Ave 1 in progress.

      • I know. Cause I used to stay in blk 402 where my blk has a mama-shop downstair. My primary sch Nan Hua which is just down the road.

  7. It’s quite bittersweet as I see the pictures in this post. I don’t live in Clementi, but it’s like my second home as I went to the now defunct Jurong Institute. My schoolmates and I would normally hang out here after we were done with school, so I’d have a lot of memories here – like chilling out at the huge fountain next to the cinema, going to A&W to enjoy their Coney Dog tuesdays, being stuck at the bus interchange and subsequently being late to school. I remember small little shophouse where an old gentleman would be selling herbs and natural cosmetics. Not sure if anyone remembers the tall clock tower and there was even a box where you could buy newspapers from. I’ve never seen that around in other parts of Singapore.

    There was an old world charm for me there. And there were so many beautiful memories for me here. It’s such a shame that it’s gone. I feel like there is nothing from my school days to remember me by anymore.

    • Yes the always-faulty clock tower just outside Bata, the sometimes-Wild-Wild-Wet fountains where it was the default meeting location other than Macdonald’s, the shops there selling stuff you wouldn’t really see unless you go Chong Pang or Beauty World. Haha I stayed there since Pri 2, & would often study in A&W too

    • Nothing to be feel a shame of. This is part of upgrading and improvement. We can’t possible always stick to the same old place/environment. So long as we have such a good beautiful childhood memories to remember..

  8. What is that bookshop’s name beside the pawnshop (which was beside the A&W) that rents out books? I always go there for my Christopher Pike novels (way too young & reading horror haha)

  9. I used to live at Block 313 at Ave 4, then we had to move to Clementi Heights (the flats beside the Clem Sports Hall). I missed the old Clementi park. Does anyone still have any pictures of it?

  10. Empress Square should be up @ mid 2014. Not 2013..It’s long over.

  11. Holy moly… Are they gonna rebuild the whole Clementi?…

    • seems to me that they are in the process of “rejuvenating” the area… adding new shopping malls, replacing the 4-storey flats with high rise ones

  12. Thanks for the article. Really bought memories back in the West area. Especially most of the blogs usually provide throwbacks in other parts of Singapore – Mostly Queenstown or Commonwealth areas.

    Can’t seem to load the images on this post, mind if you can upload the images to WordPress Media itself or simply use Flickr instead (they have no bandwidth restrictions!)

    • Hi Jeremy, sorry for the image issues. I’ll be transferring them over to flickr. Thanks for the info! And yup, glad you like this article 🙂

      • Dear Sir,

        I am writing to you to request permission to use the photographs of the Clemenit bus interchange in your blog site for a smartphone trail around Clementi that we would be carrying out for our Sec students and some members of the public. It is for educational purposes and used to educate our students and public on the rich heritage and history of Clementi Neighbourhood.

        Do let me know it if is possible to use the photographs. You can email me at and I will be able to provide you more details on our project.


  13. Hi. I am not able to see the pictures. It says “Upgrade to Plus for additional bandwidth”.

  14. Thanks. Places mentioned are all part of my childhood memories.. sparrow playground, A&W, empress cinema. So sad that these are gone and never be the same again.

  15. Hey all, I posted the first comment back in 2012.

    Many more things have changed over the past several years. Here are some of the more notable ones.

    1) Jurong Dispensary clinic is closed for good. It’s quite a popular clinic, Dr Tan Kok Soo has retired for good. No younger doctors interested in taking over the clinic could be found.

    2) The famous ‘Tanglin Halt’ western food stall at the Clementi hawker centre is no more. Probably retired.

    3) The CityVibes mini mall has been acquired by some mainland Chinese family and it has been renamed as ‘Grantral Mall’. The interior has been renovated, now with ugly staircases linking to the upper floors. Two of the shop kiosks on the ground floor were dismantled, one used to be the Indian moneychanger. The moneychanger had relocated to the wall near the escalator.

    4) WE321 cineplex has removed the auto glass door at the 3rd floor entrance. Now the ground floor is aircon; previously it was not.

    5) The floor of the area outside the Clementi Sports Hall main entrance is now covered with some blue asphalt or concrete. Probably to cater to the zumba, roller blading and basketball folks.

    The basement of Clementi Mall had undergone a major revamp. New F&B tenants, layout is not unlike the ‘food ring’ you see in one of those Capitaland malls.

    There are more retail casualties, changes etc which I shall not bore you with here.

    Someone mentioned A&W in an earlier comment. Yes, there was an A&W restaurant next to the (now demolished) sand playground and the alley leading to the delivery bay of the Clementi wet market. When I was a schoolkid, if I didn’t have money to eat at A&W I would walk to where the cooking fumes came out of the side of the building and inhaled… it was food porn for my nose.

    Now the nearest A&W is at the AEON mall in Bukit Indah, JB. Take the yellow CW3 bus from Jurong East bus interchange, it’ll take you directly there.

  16. Singapore 90s Child

    Thank you for all that you do.

    Best wishes,

  17. elevatorfilmersingapore

    Sadly yet another thing in Clementi would be gone forever… Blk 321-323 Clementi site expected to close soon. Completed in 1977, these blocks were announced for en bloc in February 2011. As of January 2019, only Blk 321 and 323 are open, with Blk 322 closed in September 2018. Only a matter of time before yet another SERS site in Clementi gets demolished… hopefully they would be reserved for interim rental use but it seems unlikely as there were tenders for demolition of those blocks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s