The Cathay
The Cathay is a mixed-use 17-storey cinema, shopping mall and apartment building located at Handy Road and Mount Sophia in the Museum Planning Area of Singapore. Owned and managed by Cathay Organisation, the building originally opened in 1939 as Cathay Building. In 2000, it closed for redevelopment and reopened as The Cathay in March 2006. The building incorporates elements of the old Cathay Building, including its facade which is conserved as a national monument.

The Cathay features an eight story shopping mall and a 9-story serviced apartment on top of the building. The retail outlets, food and beverage outlets occupy the basement to the 4th floor. There are 8 cinema halls on levels 5 and 6 including The Picturehouse. The Picturehouse is an arthouse cinema hall outfitted with 82 Poltrona Faru Oscar seats. The Grand Cathay hall seats 590 and feature elements of architectural design from the original Cathay Cinema. The Grand Cathay cinema is THX certified and a 2K DIGITAL hall. The Cathay Hall 2 is also a THX certified cinema auditorium. Cathay Hall 7 is equipped with SONY SXRD CINEALTA 4K DIGITAL projector. The nine story residential tower will consists of 76 units from levels 9 to 17, and will include a swimming pool, tennis court and a garden on the 9th floor. The Cathay Residences will open at end 2006 and apartments are for lease only. The Cathay is designed by Paul Tange of Tange Associates, in association with RDC Architects Pte Ltd. The Cathay is clad with a 40-metre high curved glass facade which is the key element of the building design. It will serve as a clear, gentle partition between the interior and exterior of the building. The translucent glow of the glass facade will interplay between the white and grey of the old facade.

The Cathay tenants had two rounds of rental rebates with the management granting such rebates due owing to poor businesses. Tenants were unhappy with poor shoppers traffic, with only 60% of the mall occupied. However, the management claims that 82% of the mall has been leased and it will be 78% occupied by November 2006. The management said the new rebates were not a result of the letter from the tenants, but was long planned beforehand. Most of the tenants were happy with the rebates, which provided them with a short-term relief. However, at VivoCity which opened on 7 October, business was thriving and they were also enjoying similar rebates, with 93% of the space leased out. The mall was expected to be 70% occupied by mid-June 2006, a tenant claimed that they promised the tenants big-names in the mall. He added that most of the time the place was a "dead town". Meanwhile, other tenants believed the mall will have a great potential, but the effort to bring people has somehow stopped. Tenants complained about the lack of automatic teller machines, pharmacies and a convenience store, though Cheers has signed to become a tenant at the mall. Property experts cited that it may be the location that is the cause of the poor business, and its poor visibility as it is located at the end of Orchard Road.


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