SINGAPORE: Sentosa's Tiger Sky Tower - which was shuttered for three months last year after a malfunction trapped 39 people for hours - will close its doors for good in December after negotiations to renew the lease fell through.
After 15 years of operations in Sentosa, the last day of service for the rotating observation tower - which ascends to 131 metres above sea level - will be at midnight on Dec 28, operator Sky Tower Pte Ltd said in a press release.
"The company did not come to an agreement with Sentosa Development Corporation to renew the lease," Sky Tower said.
"The last day of operations will be on Dec 28. Till then, the Sky Tower team is looking forward to receiving many guests and will offer reduced entry prices as a gesture of appreciation to the many partners," it added.
The company emphasised that the malfunction in August 2017 was not linked to the termination of operations.
The Sky Tower ride was shuttered for three months after a drive unit component that raises and lowers the gondola overheated, leaving 39 people trapped in the cabin for more than four hours at about 25 meters above the ground.
“The discussions with Sentosa Development Corporation were very sincere and detailed, but we could not agree on the commercial terms to continue operations," said Sky Tower managing director Alexander Melchers.
“We have enjoyed a very good partnership with Sentosa. We appreciate the continued support of the management and the various teams of the Sentosa Development Corporation."
Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia, Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) said Sky Tower gave notice that the attraction will cease operations from Dec 28, ahead of the expiry of its lease in March 2019.
"SDC is working with Sky Tower on its cessation plans. We would like to assure our guests that SDC will refresh the site with exciting offerings as part of our continual efforts to curate and offer a diverse array of attractive leisure experiences for all to enjoy in Sentosa. More details will be shared when available," it said.
SKY TOWER COULD HAVE BEEN OPERATED FOR MANY MORE YEARS: OPERATOR
The attraction, which has seen nearly 5 million visitors, was the first foreign direct investment in an attraction on Sentosa under the 2002-Masterplan.
Towering over Sentosa, it was opened in 2003, preceding the renewal of the island and the new developments including Sentosa Luge and Skyride, iFly Singapore, Mega Adventure Park and Resorts World Sentosa.
“Viewing platforms are an integral part of any theme park or cluster of attractions worldwide, because people don’t only enjoy but they actually desire to have a birds’ eye view over their surroundings,” said Mr Melchers.
“For 15 years, the Sky Tower met this demand as a truly inclusive family ride ... Ocean Park in Hong Kong, for example, has the same Sky Tower in operation for over 25 years confirming the relevance and reliability of such iconic viewing platforms even for the most successful theme parks in Asia,” he said.
The operator also added that they believe the Sky Tower is a future-proof technology and could have been operated at Sentosa for many more years.
The operator now plans to move and rebuild the Sky Tower in another country.
In order for visitors to enjoy the ride before the closure, Sky Tower will be reducing prices to S$8.80 from S$18 per ride for adults from Nov 1. Tickets for children will be S$4.80.