Construction of Solaris has begun

Construction of Solaris has begun


CONSTRUCTION of Phase 2B of Fusionopolis has begun with the ground-breaking ceremony for a 15-storey building called Solaris.


It is being developed by Soilbuild Group — the first private sector developer at Fusionopolis cluster at one-north.


Its $148-million new building will cover :an estimated gross floor area of 540,000 square feet and is slated for completion in 2010. It will house research activities for :infocommunications , media, science and engineering industries.


Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang (left), officiating at Friday’s ground-breaking ceremony, expressed confidence that Solaris will attract strong interest.


Already, developments in Phase 1 and 2A of Fusionopolis are attaining full occupancy before their official completion.


“The Fusionopolis cluster … will help to anchor high value economic activities and contribute to the development of Singapore as a knowledge-intensive economy,” said Mr Lim.


Source: Today Newspaper



Soilbuild breaks new ground at Fusionopolis

Soilbuild breaks new ground at Fusionopolis

Phase 2B kicks off with Solaris, a ‘green building’ for creative industries


SOILBUILD Group Holdings staked its claim as the first private developer at one-north business park Fusionopolis yesterday.


‘Following the award of Fusionopolis Phase 2B in April, Soilbuild will develop and lease out its new flagship project Solaris to businesses in the research and development-based science, engineering, infocommunications and media industries,’ Soilbuild executive director Low Soon Lim said at the ground-breaking ceremony yesterday.


Solaris, for the creative industries, is a 15-storey ‘green’ building that is expected to save $500,000 to $700,000 a year in water and electricity charges at full occupancy rates.


With a gross floor area of about 540,000 sq ft, Solaris is estimated to cost about $148 million and will house a mixture of multinational private firms, research laboratories and retail space. It is expected to be completed by the first half of 2010.


Construction of Solaris comes on the back of strong demand for business space in Fusionopolis.


‘With Fusionopolis Phases 1 and 2A attaining full occupancy before their official completion, I am confident that Solaris will receive similarly strong interest,’ Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said at yesterday’s ground-breaking ceremony.


Soilbuild was awarded the project by one-north’s master developer JTC Corporation under a concept and fixed-price tender.


Solaris will be the first of many private developers at Fusionopolis as part of a plan for large private participation as a whole.


JTC assistant chief executive Philip Su said that Phases 3 and 4 of Fusionopolis, expected to be ready by 2013, will also be developed by the private sector. The tender for Phase 3 will be out by this year.


‘While JTC is good at building labs like the ones in Fusionopolis Phase 2A, the private sector is best at building business park space,’ he said. ‘They keep costs down, are more efficient and complete it in a shorter amount of time. JTC should not do what the private sector can do better.’


Phases 3 and 4, with a gross floor area of 50,000 sq m, will mainly comprise general amenities needed to support the businesses in Phases 1 and 2 at Fusionopolis.


Besides Fusionopolis, one-north houses the Biopolis, a biomedical science research and development area, and Wessex Estate, a residential area.


Source: Business Times

Tender for Phase 3 of Fusionopolis will open by H2

Tender for Phase 3 of Fusionopolis will open by H2


SINGAPORE : Singapore is seeing an overwhelming demand for research and development space, particularly from the info-communication, media and science sectors.


So to meet the growing need, the government said it will expand the Fusionopolis cluster at one-north.


This was revealed at the ground-breaking ceremony of Phase 2B of the development on Friday.


The ground-breaking marks the start of Phase 2B of Fusionopolis.


But further development of the cluster is now projected to grow at a much faster pace.


Philip Su, Assistant CEO, JTC Corporation, said, “In terms of demand from the private sector, for space in business park, you’ll find that we are presently quite short. Even with the ground-breaking of Phase 2B, there is an unfulfilled demand for such space. So, that’s the reason why we may have to push forward some of our plans to bring in Phase 3.”


An additional 50,000 square metres of Gross Floor Area will be added under Phase 3 and Phase 4.


And to meet demand for more business park space, JTC is bringing forward the development of the third phase.


It will open Phase 3 for tender by the private sector by the second half of this year.


Speaking at the ground-breaking, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang noted that Fusionopolis plays a key role in building up a knowledge-based economy in Singapore.


Mr Lim said, “The Fusionopolis cluster, together with the other developments in one-north, will help to anchor high-value economic activities and contribute to the development of Singapore as a knowledge-intensive economy.”


When ready, the 15 storey building will house R&D labs for the infocomm, media, science and engineering industries.


And as part of the Fusionopolis cluster, it is expected to set the stage for more public-private partnerships.


With Fusionopolis Phases 1 and 2A previously attaining full occupancy even before completion, Phase 2B is expected to receive similar responses.


Low Soon Sim, Executive Director, Soilbuild, said, “There has been quite a bit of interest, and at this point in time, we are focusing on their design requirements.”


Mainboard-listed Soilbuild is the developer for Phase 2B – the first private developer in the Fusionopolis cluster.


Construction for Phase 2B is expected to be completed by 2010. – CNA/ms


Source: Channel NewsAsia

Further expansion at Fusionopolis

Further expansion at Fusionopolis

by Yasmine Yahya


Further expansion has been slated for Fusionopolis, which will add another 50,000 square metres of gross floor area by 2013.


The expansion will constitute Phases 3 and 4 of Fusionopolis, which is envisioned to be a home for IT, media, science and engineering companies.


The expansion was announced by Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang at the groundbreaking of Fusionopolis Phase 2B.


Phase 2B, which will provide about 540,000 square metres of gross floor area, is due to be ready in 2010.


Mr Lim said that with Fusionopolis Phases 1 and 2A attaining full occupancy even before completion, he was confident that Phase 2B will receive strong interest from industry players as well.


“The Fusionopolis cluster will set the stage for the co-location of both public and private sector research labs, which will develop new technologies and inventions for tomorrow. More knowledge workers and companies will be drawn to One-North, as more of the exchanges are developed. One-North is on track to becoming a vibrant community where world class talents, scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs will gravitate, exchange ideas and create economic value.”


While Phase 2B will be comprised mostly of business park space, JTC’s Assistant CEO Phillip Su said Phase 3 will have to include more amenities.


“Last time you could build industrial park space and people would just go there to work. these days, with the researchers and the talent pool, they need more than that. so the general amenities of this area will have to go up a great deal more.”


Mr Su said the tender for Phase 3 will be launched sometime this year, allowing private developers to design, build and own the site.


Phase 2B was the first time that a private developer was allowed to do just that within Fusionopolis.


It’s being constructed by mainboard-listed Soilbuild.


Source: 938Live

A place to dine, drink and rock

A place to dine, drink and rock

The 5,000-seat entertainment centre to come up at one-north will be a world-class venue for big performances, writes CLARISSA TAN


FIVE thousand people yelling their heads off. Fists pumping the air. There will be a lot to shout about when Singapore gets another large entertainment centre in 2011, and concert and theatre fans troop in for the latest and brightest in performance acts, acoustics and lighting.


For starters, the 5,000-seat centre won’t be smack dab in the middle of the town, as one might expect. It will be at one-north, the area around Buona Vista that has been earmarked for massive development. Bringing the whole concert-going experience out of the city is part of the idea, say the developers.


‘Our extensive research indicates an overwhelming need for a sizeable performance venue, away from the city and well-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities,’ said Matthew Kang, director of Rock Productions, which will build, lease and operate a civic and cultural zone at one-north. ‘The proposed high-tech theatre is expected to fulfil the needs of and attract these performing art and cultural groups.’


The place will be a ‘world-class venue for staging large-scale performances, shows and events’, he added. Rock Productions hopes it will become the new centre for artistic and cultural events, as well as meetings, conventions and exhibitions in Singapore.


The centre, to be operated by Rock Productions, is part of a larger Civic Cultural and Retail Complex located at Vista Xchange within one-north. The Complex is designed to stand out with space-agey architecture by Andrew Bromberg of AEDAS Hong Kong. It will have eight levels dedicated to the civic and cultural zone, run by Rock, and four floors to retail and entertainment, managed by CapitaLand Retail.


The Complex will be served by Buona Vista MRT station, as well as the future Circle Line.


CapitaLand’s retail zone will have two floors above ground and two basement levels. Its open, spiral-stairway design will help show off its multitude of restaurants, food halls, cafes and fashion outlets.


‘The zone is expected to benefit from the natural visitor catchments from the one-north communities, surrounding housing estates, as well as tertiary institutions close by,’ said Pua Seck Guan, chief executive officer of CapitaLand Retail. It will also cater to ‘the affluent crowd’ from the nearby Bukit Timah, Holland Village and Rochester Park areas, he added.


‘The open concept, set in a lush green environment, will create a new destination for art and cultural patrons, professional, academic and residential communities in one-north and people from various parts of Singapore,’ he said.


While the Cultural and Retail Complex will be completed in three years’ time, there’s already plenty of fun to be had at one-north. The area is fast shaping up as one of the most vibrant venues in Singapore for fine dining, cocktail-sipping and art-gallery hopping.


Wide variety


Rochester Park, for instance, has been pulling in the crowds for some years now, thanks in part to its tranquil colonial setting. The cluster of old black-and-white houses converted into food-and-beverage outlets offers a wide variety of dining experiences – from Graze, which offers contemporary dining, to Da Paolo Bistro Bar, with its Italian cuisine, to Min Jiang @ one-north, which serves Chinese fare.


‘We have grown in terms of global awareness,’ said Cheryl Lee, co-owner and director of One Rochester, a wine and bistro outlet that was the first to open in the area in December 2005. ‘We have been listed among the top 30 bars in the world in lists compiled by Forbes magazine.’


One Rochester has cleverly adapted its business to its old British residence, offering its premises as a kind of ‘house’, with different rooms and lounge areas called the Living Room, the Playroom, the Library, and so on. It also leases out its space for a variety of events, including birthday parties, weddings, wine tastings and corporate launches.


Another place aiming to offer a smorgasbord of experiences is Rochester Terrace, which describes itself as a ‘gastronomic village’. It consists of four outlets at one stretch on the elevated side of Rochester Park, each offering a different dining and entertainment concept.


The first outlet, Twelve + One, will house a gourmet bakery, cafe and cooking studio. The second, Cassis, specialises in modern French cuisine; the third, Pinchos, is a wine bar that emphasises food sharing, thus featuring tapas and finger food; and the fourth, Minx, is a Russian caviar and vodka bar.


To date, Cassis and Pinchos are open, Twelve + One will open in the middle of July, and Minx will open in time for the Singapore Grand Prix season.


Mahesh Ramnani, chief executive officer of Rochester Terrace, said the Park is a ‘great location’.


‘The layout and milieu is unique, allowing us to create a graceful and relaxed setting,’ he said. ‘It brings back classic entertainment consisting of camaraderie, indulging in the company of friends.’


Another corner of one-north that’s attracting visitors is Village Square, which is situated in Wessex Estate, another colonial enclave. Unlike the more high-end Rochester Park, the Village Square is more rustic and its various art studios and galleries such as Fringe Benefits, d’Art Studio and Geeleinan give it a bohemian feel.


There is also the legendary Colbar, which started life some 40 years ago as a British officers’ mess and still attracts nostalgic diners with its ramshackle, retro setting.


Across the road from the Colbar is a swish new cocktail bar called Klee, which opened just earlier this year. Klee’s cocktail servers are called ‘mixologists’ who pride themselves on using only premium spirits – Belvedere, Johnny Walker Black Label, Sagatiba – and fresh ingredients (bottled fruit juices are a no-no).


Occupying a happy spot between dining and art is the cosy Ristorante Pietrasanta, which offers hearty Tuscan dishes such as veal tripe and T-bond steak, and also sells the art works on its walls.


‘We have a curator who takes care of it, changing the works of art every two or three months,’ said Loris Massimini, who opened the restaurant with his wife Jennifer Tan.


Mr Massimini said business has been brisk since Pietrasanta swung open its doors in March. ‘We are always fully booked during the weekends,’ he said.


Source: Business Times

An ecosystem of learning

An ecosystem of learning

Lessons at one-north include the study of literature, how to build a digital game and cookery classes, reports CLARISSA TAN


IT’S a place where you can study Confucius and Shakespeare, learn how to build a digital game for the Wii, probe the human gene or whip up a Mexican meal – whichever takes your fancy.


one-north, a fast-developing area that wants to be known as Singapore’s ‘icon of the knowledge economy’, is teeming with schools and institutions of learning.


The list includes well-known names in both local and international education – the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) one-north campus, Insead, DigiPen Institute of Technology, Singapore Polytechnic, United World College, Tanglin Trust School, the Anglo-Chinese School and Junior College and the Japanese Primary School.


Not forgetting the various institutes in genomics, molecular biology and nanotechnology that are housed in giant research centre Biopolis, as well as much smaller outfits that focus on creative pursuits such as drama and cuisine.


‘The location at one-north provides an ideal setting for students, staff and visitors to learn, work and unwind alongside scientists, researchers, technopreneurs and business people from all over the world,’ said a spokesperson for NTU.


The Jurong-based university last year opened NTU@one-north, which houses educational facilities such as the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) and the Confucius Institute, as well as a 10-level alumni clubhouse.


The CCE offers executive programmes and online courses for participants in Singapore and abroad. The Confucius Institute, a collaboration with Shandong University and the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), teaches Chinese and runs courses on Chinese culture.



Different cup of tea


Offering a rather different cup of cha is DigiPen Institute of Technology, which from September will offer two degrees in Singapore – a Bachelor of Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Production Animation.


The first degree focuses on the technology behind the development of video games, including the development of game engines, graphics, physics, artificial intelligence and networking. The second degree aims to prepare students to produce 2D and 3D art for animation industries such as feature films and video games.


The institute is housed in Pixel, a funky grey, black and white harlequin-patterned building at Central Exchange Green, a grassy area in one-north. Jason Chu, chief operating officer for DigiPen, said that the atmosphere there is ‘dynamic, exciting and desirable’.


‘DigiPen’s programmes are exciting and challenging and students need an environment where they can focus and concentrate their efforts in studying,’ he said. ‘The location in Pixel is serene and provides an ideal learning environment.’


DigiPen actually started life in 1988 as Digipen Corporation, a computer simulation and animation company in Canada. In 1998, DigiPen Institute of Technology was created in the US, and its American alumni includes Kim Swift, who ranked seventh in a recent list of the top 25 most influential people in the digital gaming industry. She helped to develop the Portal game for Valve Corporation, which won Best Game of the Year award in 2008.


Mr Chu said that one of the reasons why DigiPen decided to open its first-ever branch campus in Singapore was ‘the dedication and support of the Singapore government towards the development of the interactive digital media industry (IDM)’. Singapore also has ‘the potential of becoming the centre for the IDM industry, due to its strategic location in South-east Asia’, he said.


For Narayan Pant, the dean of executive education at Insead, the nation’s cosmopolitan nature was also a draw for the world-famous business school, which also has campuses in Fontainebleau and Abu Dhabi. ‘Singapore is a cosmopolitan culture and this is a reflection of our own cosmopolitan roots,’ he said. ‘We get students, teachers and participants from all over the world. It’s not only about bringing the class to the world, but about bringing the world to the class.’


Insead’s campus at one-north opened in 2000, and the school had initially planned its next step of expansion for 2008. ‘Instead, our next stage of growth was in 2005, when we had to make a 50 per cent expansion in space,’ said Prof Pant.


The business school’s proximity to other institutions of learning and research is another plus point. ‘In education, you don’t work alone,’ he said. ‘You work in an ecosystem. It’s about being near a library, the NUS, the NTU. And every new development, such as at Rochester Park or Fusionopolis, adds to the ecosystem. From that perspective, one-north is a great place to be.’


Another school which a multi-national flavour, this time literally, is Palate Sensations. The school, situated in a black-and-white colonial building at the Wessex Estate, offers lessons in French, Italian and Mexican cuisine, as well as courses for cocktails and pastry.


‘We like to work some of our courses around a theme, like a movie,’ said managing director and owner Lynette Foo. ‘We have Mexican cooking classes built around Like Water for Chocolate, and French classes around the movies Ratatouille and Chocolat.’


A few blocks away, also in the Wessex Estate within one-north, is the Centre Stage School of the Arts, which teaches drama to children. On any given day, crowds of kids can be seen entering or leaving the school, chattering excitedly and getting ready to enact scenes from Roald Dahl’s The Twits or Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


The school accepts participants as young as six months, when babies start to learn the basics of interaction, to as old as 17 years. It also has a few adult classes. ‘Theatre’s so important, it’s not only about acting, but about poise, expression, listening and language,’ said artistic director Peter Hodgson, who has a bachelor of arts in theatre as well as teaching and acting diplomas.


‘More and more, the corporate world is also tending to hire people with an arts background,’ added Mr Hodgson, who started the school with his wife, Alison Tompkins.


Centre Stage used to be located in the River Valley area, but Mr Hodgson said that Wessex Estate, in the green enclave of one-north, is more conducive to learning drama. ‘The advantage here is that we have a beautiful, calm environment,’ he said. ‘It’s more helpful to what we do.’


Source: Business Times

Life in a self-contained township

Life in a self-contained township

one-north aims to be a place where residents can work, live, learn and play seamlessly. CLARISSA Tan reports


IT’S Friday morning. Your alarm rings. You decide to swim a few laps, so you head for the rooftop pool. Then you stroll to work, which takes only a few minutes. Throughout the day, you rub shoulders with academics, media types, a few artists.


Later you want to welcome the weekend with a bang. A host of restaurants and bars are just a short walk or an MRT stop away. And while your workplace is an impressive, futuristic building, you can opt to dine in a cosy colonial setting.


Living in one-north will help you enjoy this kind of lifestyle, according to some property developers and consultants. The 200-hectare area around Buona Vista, which includes scientific research centre Biopolis and media hub Fusionoplis, aims to be a place where residents can ‘work, live, learn and play’ seamlessly.


one-north’s ’self-contained township’ concept and proximity to a research-and-development hub, the Science Park and education campuses are a draw for researchers, academics and professionals, says Ku Swee Yong, director of marketing and business development at property consultant Savills Singapore.


‘Singapore has just begun to reap the benefits of R&D in the pure sciences,’ he says. ‘one-north is expected to contribute the lion’s share in the commercialisation value of these efforts’.


Two residential projects are under construction at one-north – one-north Residences and The Rochester.


The Rochester, going by the job-home-leisure concept, is a mixed development that will comprise a condominium, a business hotel and a mall.


The cluster will have ‘unparalleled accessibility,’ says Jackson Yap, group managing director and chief executive of developer United Engineers.


‘There’s the East-West MRT line a five-minute walk away at Buona Vista station and the Circle Line to be running by 2011. It is also a short drive to Orchard Road and walking distance to Holland Village.’


The Rochester Condominium will have 366 units. Besides being near the sleek towers of Biopolis and Fusionopolis, it will be flanked by the lush Rochester Park, a green belt with colonial black-and-white bungalows that have been leased to food-and-beverage outlets.


‘It enjoys all the amenities of a mature residential estate with the greenery of the Rochester Hill in the background,’ says Mr Yap.


The Rochester Mall will be 100,000 sq ft and the business hotel, called Park Avenue Suites @ The Rochester, will have 350 rooms.


‘Apart from serving business travellers to one-north, the hotel will cater to medical tourists, with the National University Hospital and Gleneagles in the vicinity,’ Mr Yap says.


It will also attract ‘edu-tourists’ on short-term post-graduate courses at the nearby INSEAD business school and the National University of Singapore, he adds.


The entire project should be completed by 2011.


one-north Residences, developed by Vista Development, will have about 400 residential units and 20 street retail units. Its design concept leans towards glass and steel, with blocks connected by sky bridges, and fits in with the area’s master plan to create a ‘fenceless’ community.


‘Because there is a limited supply of residential projects there, demand for housing will be extremely great from expatriates who work there,’ says Emily Eng, associate director of the residential department of Knight Frank, the project’s marketing consultant and agent.


‘People who buy see the potential of the hub. After all, the government has committed to spend $15 billion to develop this city within the city.’


Savills’ Mr Ku says a development like one-north Residences will ‘allow like-minded experts and professionals to get together, mingle and socialise within a short walk of their home.’


Such is the concern for seamless interconnectivity that if you’re the sort who prefers to roll out of bed and into the office, you can opt to live in the very building where you work.


Fusionopolis, a twin-tower, 24-floor skyscraper dedicated to ‘infocomms’ or media and IT-related businesses, will house 50 serviced apartments. These units will have access to a rooftop pool, a clubhouse and skygardens – as well as five floors of entertainment and retail outlets including a supermarket, restaurants, a bookstore and a food court.


While one-north may look scientific, high-tech and top-speed at first glance, it also has a more laidback and historical side. Nestled in a green enclave is the Wessex Estate, a close-knit cluster of black-and-white houses and apartments built by the British in the 1940s.


While the various blocks of the Biopolis complex are given names such as Neuros, Genome and Chromos, the apartment buildings of Wessex Estate bear names that recall another time – Waterloo, Somme, Lucknow, Pegu.


And unlike the colonial district at Rochester Park, which now features restaurants and bars, the Wessex Estate is still very much residential and has a strong neighbourhood feel. The aim is to foster it as a home for artists, teachers, writers and actors. A few of the apartment blocks have been converted into work lofts for people involved in the creative and fine arts.


The Wessex Estate has always had interconnectivity of its own. For decades, its inhabitants could head down to the nearby Colbar (short for Colonial Bar), where pickled onions and fish-and-chips are on the menu.


The Colbar still exists and is as popular as ever, but recently it has been joined by two new restaurants, a cafe and a cocktail bar – all of them forming an area called the Village Square.


At sundown, when you chug your beer at the square, perhaps you will see the twinkling lights of the hovering skyscrapers.


Source: Business Times

A place for a meeting of minds

A place for a meeting of minds


one-north, encompassing Biopolis and Fusionopolis, is Singapore’s icon of the knowledge economy, reports CLARISSA TAN


Brain space: Biopolis (above) was conceived to put Singapore on the global map of the biomedical sciences industry; global pharmaceuticals corporation Novartis houses its Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases at Chromos. The institute ‘is dedicated to discovering treatments for diseases of the developing world, including tuberculosis, malaria and dengue fever’, says its chairman Paul Herrling


THERE I was, standing in the middle of a gleaming complex of buildings, with blocks bearing names like Chromos, Proteos, Genome and Matrix. I was, of course, at Biopolis, conceived to put Singapore on the global map of the biomedical sciences industry. Biopolis itself is only one part of a vast development called one-north that is emerging around the Buona Vista area.


This 200 ha area is ‘Singapore’s icon of the knowledge economy’, according to the one-north website. It encompasses Biopolis and Fusionopolis, a sprawling area dedicated to the media and information businesses.


In its widest interpretation, one-north includes Rochester Park, Insead business school and one campus of the Nanyang Technological University. Clearly, it is planned to be a kind of ‘brain space’ and creative nerve for Singapore.


But does the talent really like working here? I approached a man and a woman chatting to each other and posed them that question.


The woman’s answer was emphatic. ‘Yes, it’s convenient. It’s got everything – there are restaurants, cafes, shops. There’s a shared system among all the corporations here, to take care of all our grocery and other needs.’ They declined to give their names but said that they work at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.


And for those who think that the location is somewhat out of the way, there is the view of Edison Liu, executive director of the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS). one-north is practically ‘in the middle of the city’, he said, speaking to BT in a phone interview as he was travelling in the US.


‘We are only some 20 minutes from all the major hospitals and universities. It’s not like some other research centres, where you’re stuck in the outskirts of suburbia.’


GIS is the national flagship programme for genomic sciences, and occupies – of course – the Genome block at Biopolis.


‘Of course I’m biased, but we are always counted among the top 10 genome centres in the world,’ said Prof Liu. ‘Within a 25-hundred-mile radius in Asia, there is no centre with better firepower than us.’ He said that the institute has made its mark in the areas of stem cell genomics, systems pharmacology (which is research related to cancer) and genomic technology.


Slightly more than half of GIS staff is of foreign origin, said Prof Liu, who himself is from the US but is now a Singapore permanent resident. In that sense, the institute shares the international flavour of other big research institutes.


As I walked along the paved streets of Biopolis, it seemed to me that the place, barring the occasional person in a business suit, has the feel of a large university. There is a big food court for the more budget-minded, but also espresso pit-stops and several restaurants.


These eateries are not only great places to grab a meal, but also to swap ideas and contacts, according to Paul Chapman of GlaxoSmithKline. He is head of GSK’s Centre for Research in Cognitive and Neurodegenerative Disorders.


‘While it is certainly possible to have this kind of interaction if you are located on a separate campus, there is no substitute for bumping into someone at the food court or the cafe,’ he said. ‘Those casual interactions, where people get to know each other and then discover their mutual scientific interests, just happen more easily at a place like Biopolis.’


Opportunity for study


Novartis, another global pharmaceuticals corporation, houses its Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) at Chromos.


The institute ‘is dedicated to discovering treatments for the diseases of the developing world, including tuberculosis, malaria and dengue fever’, said Paul Herrling, NITD’s head of corporate research and chairman.


‘Biopolis’s location in Singapore, a place where dengue is endemic, gives researchers the opportunity to study first-hand the epidemiology of the disease, and enables access to affected patients.’


one-north is not entirely about the medical and biotech sectors. Swissnex Singapore describes itself as a platform of the Swiss Embassy, ‘facilitating knowledge and competencies’ in science, education, art and innovation between Switzerland, Singapore and South-east Asia.


‘Being at Biopolis brings us closer to the stakeholder,’ said executive director Suzanne Hraba-Renevey. ‘We are more visible and accessible to our users and have easy access to our partners from academia, research, government and business.’


The entire Biopolis project itself is yet to be completed, and consists of several phases. Across the road looms Fusionopolis 1, comprising 24 floors, two towers and 120,000 square metres of floor area.


The building, which represents phase one of the Fusionopolis project, is dedicated to infocomms, or media-related firms that use the latest in technology. It is equipped with satellite access and the necessary power and bandwith for intensive computer use. There are also service apartments, a roof-top swimming pool and a performance theatre.


Fusionopolis 1 has just opened its doors to tenants, and Asian Food Channel was the first to make it its home. When I visited the premises of the cable-and-satellite channel on the 12th floor, there were still boxes to be unpacked and everything was spanking new.


‘We think three to five years ahead,’ said managing director Hian Goh. ‘In 12 months’ time, there’s going to be an MRT at the bottom of this building. There will be a Cold Storage and shops. There’s a sky garden – it’s beautiful.’


The new office is bright, airy and full of glass partitions. There is a room at the rear to be turned into a kitchen-cum-studio.


‘That’s where we’ll have people like Gordon Ramsay doing his shows,’ said Maria Brown, managing director of acquisitions and programming. ‘We’ll also be able to invite people over.’


I imagined the celebrity chef, brow furrowing, expletives flying, sticking a knife in a roasted carcass and calling it done.


‘Please invite me,’ I said.


Source: Business Times