Capitol Building, Singapore
The style of the building is eclectic neo-Classical, characterised by somewhat ponderous detailing. It was one of the very few air-conditioned theatres when it was built by the Namazies, a prominent Persian family to host live shows. By the mid-1930s, there were 10 cinemas, of which the Capitol was the largest and the newest. It opened in 1930 and was followed by the Alhambra, Marlborough, Pavilion, Roxy, Wembley, Tivoli, Empire, Jubilee and Gaiety.
During the Japanese Occupation, the Capitol operated under the name Kyo-Ei Gekijo until 1944, when a bomb planted by the anti-Japanese resistance damaged it. The theatre's English-language movies were later forbidden by the Japanese who replaced them with their own films. After 1946, the Capitol was purchased by Shaw and rebuilt. It became the organisation's flagship theatre (1,686 seats), and renamed as Shaw Building. The patrons had "the choice of gallery, stalls and circle seats which were priced at S$1, S$2 and S$3 respectively from the early post-World War II years until the 1970s.
It was listed for preservation in August 1983 by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and acquired by it in 1983-1984 so that it would be preserved as part of a future development.
Its use as a movie theatre ended with its last movie screening on 29 December 1998 when Shaw Organisation, its tenant since 1984, returned it to the Urban Redevelopment Board (URA) in 1987. In 2000, the Singapore Tourism Board took over the building to explore alternative uses for it, but plans to turn it into a home for an arts group did not bear fruit.
Recent developments with Capitol Building
On April 3, 2008, it was reported by Xinyi Hong that the Capitol building will be redeveloped along with its stretch of adjoining buildings - Stamford House, Capitol Building and Capitol Centre - in 2009. It is said[by whom?] the area between Hill Street and North Bridge Road along Stamford Road, has not 'fully maximised its development potential'. The Capitol and the 3 adjoining buildings currently rest on an area of about 1.45 hectares with a total of 250 tenants, including offices and retail outlets. Tenancy with retailers along the Capitol stretch will end by May 2009, and to have their businesses relocated elsewhere. A spokesman for the Singapore Land Authority said the Authority will finalise the eviction notice once the timing and details for the development of the site are finalised. While development plans are being made, three of these buildings have been gazetted for conservation, meaning that the buildings' facades and other architectural features must be maintained to ensure the buildings' historical integrity. It is believed by property analysts that the development area will attract major property developers to bid and develop the site.
In November 2011, Shimizu Corporation was awarded the redevelopment project to develop into a large scale mixed use complex called "Capitol Development". This project consist of Singapore's largest cinema cum theatre complex, 6 stars luxury hotel & retail shops, with a total size of 21,000 m2. There is also a residential component, named Eden Residences Capitol. In April 2013, 12 residential units were sold at average price of S$3000 psf.
- Xinyi, Hong (3 April 2008). "Capitol Theatre slated for redevelopment". Singapore: Straits Times.