It’s news that will have Apple fans in the region rejoicing: The tech giant’s first store in Southeast Asia is expected to open in May, according to CNBC sources.
The launch of the Singapore store has been shrouded in the company’s usual veil of secrecy. Nearly two years ago, word of the addition to the company’s beloved retail empire leaked in an email sent by the gym Pure Fitness to its clients, announcing it was leaving its sprawling space in a mall on Orchard Road.
Since then, the project has been beset by problems related to the construction in a busy part of central Singapore. A sign outside the building site originally said the expected completion date was October 31, 2016. Then it was changed to January 30 of this year. And then the date was wiped off completely.
A sign previously indicating when the Apple store expected to open has had that section blanked out (circled). CNBC | Craig Dale
The reasons for the apparent delay are somewhat opaque. Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower issued a stop work order to the contractor for the worksite, Legend Interiors, an interior fit-out specialist.
According to a statement sent to CNBC by MOM, that stop work order was issued “for unsafe conditions relating to work at height, traffic management, scaffolding, electrical installation and lifting operations that were observed during an inspection at the worksite.” The order went into effect on October 24, 2016 and was lifted on November 16, 2016.
Someone who answered the phone at Legend Interiors — which says its clients include Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Marriott, Credit Suisse, and Cathay Pacific — said they were uncomfortable answering questions about any issues that may have come up with the Apple store, especially a query about whether there had been any legal wrangling between Legend and Apple.
That person said discussing any issues would be “treading on dangerous ground,” and referred all questions to project manager Madeline Tan. Reached by phone, Tan declined to comment on the project and even refused to give her exact title.