The old Woodlands Town Centre, woodlands center
Border towns are fascinating properties. Border towns, unlike other self-sufficient estates, have a direct connection with the neighbouring community. For example, the old Woodlands Town Centre serves as a passage town for those travelling to Malaysia or Singapore. The Causeway was previously the only connection between Singapore and Malaysia, and Woodlands was used as a transit route for people travelling across the island.
The new Woodlands Town Centre will be integrated into the existing lifestyle of many neighbourhoods, especially in its border town role. Businesses in the trading sector cater to the needs of tourists and locals alike. These include garment and footwear sellers, currency exchangers with the most competitive rates, and 24-hour eating establishments to satisfy hunger around the clock.
Passport control was implemented at Woodlands in June 1967, shortly after Singapore’s separation from Malaysia. The old customs area was finished in the early 1970s, located at the junction of Woodlands Road and Woodlands Centre Road. The old Woodlands Town Centre would be converted into a transit stop, supplanting the current station.
The Woodlands Bus Interchange was built in 1980 to serve the estate and northern corridor with bus services. It also sat conveniently next to the ancient customs centre, which was previously at 500 Teck Lay Boulevard.
In 1980, the resident population rose with the completion of Blocks 1A to 6A at Woodlands Centre Road. The area began to bustle: a shopping arcade featuring Oriental Emporium, live music at the Shaw Brothers-owned Woodlands Cinema, and fast-food restaurants, as well as hawker centre and 24-hour eating houses.
In 1980, a huge mosque was constructed to accommodate a large number of people and tourists from Malaysia. The Masjid An-Nur Mosque is located at the junction of Admiralty Road and Woodlands Centre, and it can accommodate up to 2,800 people during one service.
By the 1990s, life on the estate would come to a halt. The Woodlands Bus Interchange was shut and passengers were directed to the new Woodlands Regional Bus Interchange and Woodlands MRT Station, which opened in 1996. In 1990, the seven-storey Causeway Point mall, which was a megastore with more than 100 shops and services on three levels, opened. It quickly provided better and new facilities to tourists. The former bus interchange was ultimately converted into a bus and coach parking lot.
On June 25, 2012, the Housing and Development Board revealed that Blocks 1A to 6A Woodlands Centre Road were designated for the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS). Residents of the 147 flats will be resettled to new replacement apartments at Woodlands Drive 70 by 2016.
The project also includes 186 businesses, six offices, five restaurants and 78 food stalls. The $60,000 ex-gratia payment will be provided to shop tenants who qualify. The National Environment Agency will also construct a new hawker centre in Woodlands Town. The old hawker centre will be demolished and replaced with a new one. New stalls will be allocated to current vendors who want to continue their business at the new hawker centre.
The days of glory for the old Woodlands Town Centre are numbered, as residents and businesses leave.