Creating more buzz in the Central Area

Creating more buzz in the Central Area




OF ALL the changes made in the recent announcement of the new draft Master Plan 2008, those being effected within the Central Region in general and within the Central Area in particular would have the most telling impact on commercial land use in Singapore.


The Central Area lies at the heart of the Central Region and includes the sub-zones of the Downtown Core, Singapore River, River Valley, Outram, Museum, Rochor, Newton and Orchard, as well as new areas for development comprising the sub-zones Marina East, Marina South and Straits View.


In the years since the last Master Plan in 2003, the Central Area has been evolving from a land use that was predominantly commercial to include a wider diversity of other uses, such as residential, lifestyle/entertain ment and recreation. Yet, despite the influx of uses that were not typical to the Central Area 10 years ago, it is the commercial elements (especially the office sector) within the Central Area that look poised to grow in terms of both quality and quantity.


The confirmed supply of new office space in Singapore in the next five years is estimated to be about 10.2 million square feet and about 44 per cent of these new office buildings (Marina Bay Financial Centre, Marina View North Tower and Marina View South Tower) would be in the new commercial area of Marina Bay, and would be of Grade A quality.


In addition, 64 per cent of the future office supply islandwide would be Grade A buildings, undoubtedly raising the quality of office stock in the Core CBD, thereby contributing to the attractiveness of the city-state as a major financial centre.


At the same time, the Draft Master Plan 2008 provides the quantity of development space, as an additional 6.4 million sq m (69 million sq ft) of commercial space is planned for the Central Area in 10-15 years.


Rail network


A glance at the sites from the Draft Master Plan in the Marina Bay area shows that almost all the sites are ‘white’ sites, where mixed-used developments can be constructed.


Moreover, the plot ratios of the undeveloped sites range from 8.0 to 25.0, with most of the sites having a plot ratio of 13.0. These would mostly comprise modern office buildings, while at the same time suggesting that Marina Bay would have a diversity of uses that should see complementary retail space as well as residential homes. Therefore, offices with large floorplates, homes overlooking the 101-hectare Gardens by the Bay, or shops within walking distance of the entertainment highlights at the soon-to-be-complete d integrated resort look set to transform Marina Bay.


In anticipation of these exciting changes, the government is also investing in significant infrastructure. In the LTA’s Land Transport Masterplan, the rail transit network would increase from the present 138 km to 278 km by 2020.


Not only will this make the rail network comparable to those in cities like New York and London, it would facilitate the injection of even more activity into the Central Area. It is envisaged that commuters would have access to a rail transit station within 400 metres, or five minutes’ walk, from any location in the Central Area, bringing people to an array of activities in the new downtown.


Not all the action will be in Marina Bay though as the Tanjong Pagar area south of the existing CBD will also be rejuvenated, and the Beach Road/Ophir-Rochor Corridor will house a number of varied mixed-use developments. The development of these areas would provide another tier of commercial facilities on the fringe of the CBD, supporting businesses that do not require a Core CBD location.


Source: Business Times

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