Currently CanningHill Piers
With its iconic brownish twin towers overlooking the Singapore River, Liang Court was a symbol of the 80’s.
Opened in 1984, the main attraction of the complex was a 5-storey shopping mall. Alongside was Somerset Residences, a 26-storey serviced apartment, and the Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel, with 326 guest rooms.
Back in January 1984, the Wuthelam Group (a manufacturer of paint and coatings and a company that owns 39% of Nippon Paint) collaborated with Daimaru Inc (a Japanese department store chain with malls over the world) to open Liang Court, the first large scale shopping mall along River Valley Road.
Owing to its Japanese roots, the mall naturally had an inclination for Japanese wares, with Daimaru being an anchor tenant. The name Daimaru is one that conjures many fond memories for Singaporeans.
Along with Daimaru, other stores included Kinokuniya (a mega bookstore with an ample selection of Japanese literature), F&B outlets such as Tung Lok Signatures, electronics retailer SAFE Superstore and more than 60 speciality tenants with offerings catering for the Japanese community.
Above the commercial building stood two 25-storey tower blocks occupied by Hotel New Otani Singapore and serviced apartments Liang Court Regency, which opened in November 1984. These 2 towers would become the iconic landmark that would define its legacy.
In the earlier years of Liang Court’s inception, the local MRT network wasn’t that well developed and Clarke Quay was nowhere where it is today. Although the mall had a following from Japanese expatriates, it wasn’t quite sufficient to keep it going as general footfall wasn’t ideal.
After a good 19 year run, Daimaru had to throw in the towel in 2003 and close off their outlet as sales wasn’t quite keeping up. It was also in this year that Daimaru posted a 1.7% reduction in net profit as compared to a year earlier.
Taking over the role of anchor supermarket tenant at Liang Court mall was Meidi-Ya, another Japanese grocery chain that also had a long history.
(Meidi-Ya outlets can still be found at Millenia Walk and Great World)
Another large tenant Audio House came in (audio aficionados will remember) to mark the second phase of Liang Court’s growth.
Hotel New Otani’s management was taken over by Accor Hotels in December 2004, and was subsequently renamed Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay. The mall changed hands twice, having been sold to Pidemco Land in 1999 and subsequently sold to the Asia Retail Management Fund (ARMF) in 2006.
At this point it is also useful to mention the evolution that was happening at Clarke Quay as Liang Court and Clarke Quay’s fate was intertwined.
The rights to develop Clarke Quay for private developers was opened through a Sale of Sites Programme in 1989. DBS Land won this tender, through its subsidiary Real Estate Holdings.
In November 1993, Clarke Quay reopened to a much better response, with as many as 170 retail shops and 17 F&B outlets. The MRT network was also more developed by then – at least 42 MRT stations were operational by 1990, with the closest station to the Clarke Quay area being Raffles Place. These initiatives were launched to boost the area’s vibrancy with the hopes to improve pedestrian accessibility and increase footfall to the area.
Although hopes were high for Clarke Quay, it was not the commercial success that many had hope it would be.
In the year 2000, Clarke Quay went through yet another change when DBS Land merged with Pidemco Land to form CapitaLand.
Following that, the growth Clarke Quay was on the rise, aided greatly when the Clarke Quay MRT station opened in 2003, and the Central Mall by Far East Organization opened a few years later in 2007.
The current night-life and entertainment hub that is Clarke Quay was in fact the brainchild of British architectural firm Alsop Architects, hired by Capitaland to refresh Clarke Quay’s image and infrastructure and revitalise the district.
Whilst Clarke Quay was gaining traction, Liang Court, under the Asia Retail Management Fund management, underwent major refurbishment works in 2007, which took until 2010 to complete.
Uniqlo opened at the mall’s ground floor in November 2013.
Despite the many rounds of restructuring and additions of large anchor tenants, business at Liang Court was declining, as the overall Clarke Quay had grown to one that catered for young working class professional, and there was increasingly little at the older and now increasingly outdated mall for visitors of that area to look forward to.
In March 2019, the Liang Court site was sold to a joint venture between CapitaLand and City Developments Limited, for $400 million.
In November 2019, CapitaLand and its subsidiary Ascott REIT, along with City Developments Limited announced that Liang Court will be redeveloped into a proposed integrated development named Canninghill Piers, which would have both residential and commercial components.
This redevelopment effort was made possible following the proposed sale by CDL Hospitality Trusts (CDLHT) of its entire stake in Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay to the 50:50 CDL-CapitaLand joint venture entities and CDL.
Concurrently, Ascott Reit, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of CapitaLand, will sell part of its interest in Somerset Liang Court Singapore to CDL.
CanningHill Piers takes the place of the former Liang Court, a redevelopment made possible following the sale by CDL Hospitality Trusts (CDLHT) of its entire stake in Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay to the 50:50 CDL-CapitaLand joint venture entities and CDL.
CanningHill Piers occupies a commercial and residential site, and is a mixed use development named to reflect its rare hill and river dual-frontage and location along the river promenade. It is nestled between Fort Canning Hill, Fort Canning Park and the Singapore River, near River Valley. The project pays tribute to Singapore’s past life as a key destination for shipping lines, with the Singapore River being the site of goods being loaded and unloaded, and warehouses lining the edges of the river.
Crafted by mega developers CDL and CapitaLand, and designed by world renowned architects, this new development will rise to heights of 180m, offering breathtaking views of the city centre, and anchoring itself as a new icon along the Singapore River precinct.
The development will have commercial and residential components, in total four towers of different heights. There are two residential towers comprising 696 units, set to be diagonally facing, with one being 48 storeys tall and the other 24 storeys.
The remaining two other towers are for a 21-storey under the Moxy brand Hotel operated by Marriott International and a 20-storey Serviced Residence under the Somerset branding with Hotel Licence (192 Guest Rooms) managed by The Ascott Limited.
These four towers are perched on top of a commercial component named CanningHill Square, which will offer a whole slew of shopping options for residents.
Being an integrated development, it is also seamlessly connected to Fort Canning MRT Station via basement access, which is directly linked to other MRT lines and public transport options.