What happen to former Peace Centre?

Peace Centre


SINGAPORE – Originally scheduled for demolition in August 2023, Peace Centre, a mall nestled on Sophia Road, has been granted a reprieve and a new lease on life. Constructed in 1977, Peace Centre changed hands two years ago via a joint collective sale to CEL Development, Sing-Haiyi Crystal, and Ultra Infinity, with demolition initially set for August 2023.

However, a unique vision to repurpose the mall emerged when close friends Gary Hong and Yvonne Siow contemplated its potential as a hub for community-building endeavors. This brainstorm gave birth to PlayPan, a social initiative aimed at transforming the sprawling 400,000 sq ft retail space into a dynamic hub for creative collaborations, businesses, and events with a focus on positive change.

Peace Centre Interior

Taking over the mall in October, PlayPan has been granted usage rights until January 2024, primarily for hosting non-profit, community, and social engagement activities. Gary Hong, the founder of the car-vending machine venture Ten Square, sees PlayPan as a social experiment that seeks to drive positive change through the concept of “play for good.”

Yvonne Siow emphasizes that PlayPan serves as a platform for diverse individuals to come together and reimagine how they can contribute to their community. Their innovative approach aims to instill empathy and compassion in young leaders who emerge from their youth engagement programs.

PlayPan has extended its hospitality to numerous social enterprises, collaborating with around 50 partners to host events such as World Sight Day, which provided eye screening services to over 120 elderly residents. Central Singapore District Mayor Denise Phua hailed PlayPan’s collaborations as the “best-kept secret” at Peace Centre and urged her followers to explore the repurposed mall.

Furthermore, PlayPan has invited local artists to utilize the mall as a canvas for mural and street art projects. Artist Mohamed Iqbal, known as EBAO and co-founder of the street art crew DPLMT, transformed one of Peace Centre’s toilets into Singapore’s potential first “glow-in-the-dark toilet” in October. This unique opportunity for street art in an abandoned shopping mall is a rarity in Singapore, where such art is typically commissioned and restricted to designated spaces.

In the upcoming weeks, Mr. Iqbal will partner with Lost SG, an escape room provider, to create a glow-in-the-dark escape room within Peace Centre. Additionally, DPLMT will offer weekend spray-painting workshops for those interested in learning the art of street painting.

Peace Centre has also become the physical outlet for social enterprise Thryft, Second Story: Peace Edition, an online thrift store. Spread across three curated units previously occupied by City Music, Thryft offers pre-loved clothing, books, and vinyl records. Founder Eddie Lim highlights the ample space, allowing Thryft to showcase its extensive inventory of over 50,000 books and 20,000 clothing items. Customers can donate books and clothing to Thryft in exchange for store credits, which can be used to purchase items or donated to charities like WWF Singapore and Lakeside Family Services, with Thryft contributing an additional 1% of its profits.

Eddie Lim notes that both Thryft and PlayPan share common goals of creating positive social and environmental impact through their businesses. He expresses gratitude to PlayPan for providing a platform for businesses with socially-driven visions to flourish.

Peace Centre even played host to the Rest.In.Peace Centre Horror Experience from October 13 to November 13. This unique attraction was conceived by Gina Pang, a friend of Gary Hong, who saw the potential of transforming the supposedly “haunted” building into a Halloween horror house. The event came to life through collaboration with various communities, including students from nearby schools who contributed Asian horror-inspired ghost stories. Priced at $23 per person, the event attracted over 1,000 visitors and received acclaim for its eerie atmosphere and creative use of the old mall for a horror-themed experience.

Michael Ng, executive director of CEL Development, one of the mall’s owners, praised PlayPan’s achievements in a short time frame and with limited resources. He sees allowing PlayPan to take over Peace Centre as a way to bid farewell to a landmark that has stood for over 40 years while preparing the property for a transformation that will contribute to the vibrancy and rich heritage of the vicinity.