Karen Tan specialises in taking run down areas and redeveloping them into something attention catching and sustainable.
So, when she went to look at a derelict cinema on the fifth floor of a somewhat seedy building on Beach Road, she knew right away that she was looking at a diamond in the rough.
“It looked like it had so much potential,” Karen, who has a passion for bringing old things back to life, shares.
“So, my business partners and I decided to set out to re-invite people back to this once-popular space that had been forgotten, so that they could enjoy it again.”
While most entrepreneurs would run a mile away from what she was trying to do, the founder of design consultancy, Pocket Projects, was steadfast in her belief that she could transform old neighbourhoods into inclusive community-driven spaces.
Her vision for what was to come was in a similar vein to what she had already done with the Lorong 24A shophouses in Geylang and The Row in Kuala Lumpur.
She and her co-founders raised the funds to renovate the space through a crowd-funding drive, and put together an inventive business plan that featured multiple revenue streams.
This included renting the lobby out as a co-working space, and selling naming rights to the bottoms of cinema seats.