They’re Tearing Down 7th Storey Hotel. Boo!!!!

A bit of History from Wikipedia:

The New 7th Storey Hotel was established in 1953. The founder of the hotel, Wee Thiam Siew, spotted the potential for a hotel business on its current site in the early 1950s. Wee also owned the Ban Leong Group. At that time, there was an influx of immigrants and Europeanbusinessmen.

The then five-star hotel did well and became prominent. It was the tallest standing structure in the Beach Road area, and offered panoramic views of the beach. It was commonly used as a landmark by drivers to locate the lower Rochor vicinity. With the advent of land reclamation in the 1970s and 1980s, the seascapes gave way to flyovers. Following urbanisation directives, shophouses, a Chinese temple and pasar malam markets in the hotel’s immediate surroundings were also pulled down. In the 1990s, the development of the high-rise skyscrapers in Marina Centre such as the Suntec City obscured the sea view that the hotel once enjoyed.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the building’s top floor was the site of cha cha parties thrown by post-war British officers and graced by Singapore’s veteran singer S. K. Poon. After Singapore’s independence in 1965, most of the hotel’s guests were traders from India and Indonesia. Since the Asian economic crisis of 1997, fewer traders have been putting themselves up at the hotel’s rooms. Most guests now are backpackers from Europe and North America.

For those who are not sure which one it is, the New 7th Storey Hotel is that odd tilting building in Bugis in the same plot of land as the (tacky) DHL balloon and the Art-Decoish Parkview Square.

The other day I heard that the plot of land had been acquired to make way for an MRT station for the new downtown line which will be opened in 2013. Can’t imagine how lazy Singaporeans will be in the future. The place is just a friggin 5 minute walk from the already existing Bugis MRT! And I have this image in my head that in a few years, Singapore’s underground will be vaoid and filled with pipes and tunnels. Even now there have been a few cases of land caving in due to construction of tunnels. Maybe we will even live underground in the future, if Singapore hasn’t reclaimed so much land that the island is eventually connected with Indonesia and Malaysia.

Today Newspaper interviewed the lift operator (yes its lift is manually operated!) and the lift uncle was surprised to hear that they’re going to close the hotel and tear it down, his boss didn’t even say a word about it. My mind wanders. How will he make a living? Does he have a wife? Does he have to buy medicines for her? He’s so used to meeting so many people from different parts of the world everyday, he chats with them, won’t he feel lonely? What can he do next?

I hate it when they “have to” tear down old buildings, especially something not short of being a landmark – like the case of the New 7th Storey Hotel. It’s like telling an old man, “Hey sorry we just gotta kill you. We have better use for the space you are occupying in this world right now”

I thought I could book a room there for my birthday, before it’s evacuated later in December this year. But they’re fully booked for the period. Summer holidays, I guess. OK. Resolution. I gotta stay at least a night in the hotel before it’s closed! It’s gonna be an historical experience 🙂

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