Rochor Centre & Victoria Street Wholesale Centre

In November 2011, the LTA announced new plans for the upcoming North-South Expressway, which involved the acquisition of land that Rochor Centre now stands on. By 2016, these 4 blocks of coloured flats, together with the adjacent Victoria Street Wholesale Centre, would be gone.

Rochor Centre
Designed by Foo Ah Fong
Constructed: 1977
Status: Losing

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Rochor Centre, with each of the 4 blocks painted in a different colour

The Rochor Centre was a cluster of 4 flats built in 1977. It is located at the plot of land bounded by Rochor Road, Rochor Canal Road, Ophir Road and Queen Street. Muar Road, Angullia Road and Tiwary Street used to run across this plot of land. Rochor Centre initially housed relocated residents from the nearby Kampong Bugis district.

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Rochor Centre, with Cambridge Institute in the foreground

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Rochor Centre

Like many HDB estates built in that period, Rochor Centre was designed in the podium-and-tower style. The 3-storey podium housed a supermarket, provision shops and other amenities, while the 4 flats stand above it.

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Rochor Centre 03
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Rochor Centre

Most of the current tenants were relocated from Blanco Court in 1997, which was torn down to give way to Raffles Hospital.

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The central courtyard at the podium

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These glass panels allow sunlight to filter into the podium levels while providing shelter against the rain

Amenities at the void deck above the commercial podium includes a senior citizens centre, a kindergarten, a playground and a fitness corner – typical of such podium-top void decks. The senior citizens centre is known as Rochore Kongsi for the Aged, and was started by the late Dr Toh Chin Chye.

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The podium-top void deck

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Rochore Kongsi for the Aged and PAP Community Foundation Rochor Education Centre

In addition to the void decks at the top of the podium block, the central triangular courtyard in the podium block also serves as an important communal space for the residents.

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Rochor Centre

For the few years prior to the opening of the Downtown Line, residents of Rochor Centre had been enduring construction works of the nearby Bugis MRT Station, thinking that it would benefit them when completed. With Downtown Line Stage 1 operational from end 2013 onwards, the residents were only able to enjoy it for 3 years at most.

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Rochor Centre

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Rochor Road, with the overhead bridge connecting Rochor Centre to Fu Lu Shou Complex

Rochor Centre stands at the tip of the Ophir-Rochor Corridor, an important land strip flanked by Ophir Road and Rochor Road slated for further developments. It was originally listed as a protected landmark by URA, until the plans for the North-South Expressway were released.

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Entrances are located on each of the three frontages (Rochor Road, Ophir Road and Queen Street), and are articulated in a similar fashion

The residents will be moving over to Kallang Trivista, located near Kallang MRT Station. Shop owners, however, were not given replacement units, and thus will be scattered once the complex is demolished.

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Rochor Centre

Victoria Street Wholesale Centre
Status: Lost
Demolished: 2012

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Victoria Street Wholesale Centre

On the other side of Ophir Road stands the Victoria Street Wholesale Centre. It is famed for its dry grocery trade.

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Stalls at the wholesale centre

The history of Victoria Street Wholesale Centre can be traced back to 1891, when dried seafood vendors assembled at a marketplace along Tew Chew Street by the Singapore River. A fire broke out at the marketplace in 1968, and 10 years later, a new 3-storey wholesale centre known as Ellenborough Market was built at its location.

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Victoria Street Wholesale Centre

The tenants moved to their current location at Victoria Street when the land was acquired for the construction of the North East MRT Line. The lease of Victoria Street Wholesale Centre was originally supposed to end by 2003, but the Merchants’ Association managed to liaise with HDB to extend the lease multiple times.

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Notice of the move to the new building at Kallang

The Wholesale Centre was less impacted by the announcement of the North-South Expressway as relocation plans were already made by 2009, based on the knowledge that the temporary lease could not be extended indefinitely. A new multi-storey wholesale centre has been built along Kallang Road, and the tenants have moved over in April 2013.

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Victoria Street Wholesale Centre

Prior to its construction, Johore Road used to run between and parallel to Queen Street and Victoria Street, connecting Arab Street to Rochor Road.

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The red canvas sheets saying “Welcome”, with advertisements of Skylight Abalone

If Rochor Centre is best recognized by its 4-colour façade, Victoria Street Wholesale Centre would be recognized by its distinctive red canvas sheets with advertisements of Skylight Abalone. However, this sight has disappeared since 2012, and only a grass patch remains.

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Compare this with one of the photos above (the one with the Kallang building poster). Notice the Landmark Village Hotel in the background for both photos
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Future developments of this expensive plot of land

Albert Centre Temporary Market
Status: Lost
Demolished: 2010

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The plot of land where the temporary market once stood

When the Albert Centre Market at Queen Street was being renovated, a temporary market was set up here. It was demolished when renovations were completed and the stalls moved back in 2010, but the car park around the market remained. Similar to the Victoria Street Wholesale Centre, red Skylight Abalone advertisements were prominently featured around the structure.

File Last Updated: February 12, 2016


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