THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will offer an increase in gross plot ratio for areas within Singapore’s central business district (CBD) to encourage the conversion of existing office developments to hotel and residential uses, Minister for National Develoment Lawrence Wong said on Wednesday.
That change will fall under a new CBD Incentive Scheme that is part of a broader plan to boost the live-in population within the city’s central area with a variety of homes and amenities in places such as downtown, Marina South and Rochor to enable more people to live near workplaces and amenities.
The CBD Incentive Scheme will apply to the Anson Road, Cecil Street, Shenton Way, Robinson Road and Tanjong Pagar areas.
As part of its Draft Master Plan 2019, URA also envisages opportunities to inject unique, short-term uses for vacant state properties and land to bring about greater vibrancy and create public spaces for more to enjoy.
“For the CBD, the vision is to continue to transform it into a well- connected and vibrant mixed-use district offering a dynamic and innovative business environment,” URA said on Wednesday morning.
“Agencies are also studying the possibility of transforming Robinson Road into a transit-priority corridor for public transport and active mobility.” For instance, more space can be given to buses, cycling paths and pedestrian walkways.
Furthermore, active and convenient commuting within the city will become a reality by 2021, with the addition of more than five kilometres of cycling paths to the existing 22-km network in the Central Area. “Building owners are being encouraged to provide facilities such as bicycle parking, showers and lockers to make travelling to work – via active mobility – more conducive,” URA added.
URA draft master plan: More housing planned for CBD, Marina Bay area
Under its Draft Master Plan 2019, which includes plans to rejuvenate the central area, URA said it will increase housing in sites such as Downtown, Marina South and Rochor so that more people can live closer to their workplaces and other amenities.
Currently, there are more than 50,000 housing units in the central area, with the potential to add over 20,000 more homes in the city centre. About 9,000 of them will be added to the Marina South precinct, said URA.
The plan for a larger live-in population in the office-dominated CBD and Marina Bay area is part of a move by URA to bring more life to the area after office hours.
“We are looking to bring in new housing options in the CBD. We want to make our CBD more vibrant, a 24/7 precinct, and housing is one of the ways where we want to bring in more people that will be living within the CBD areas,” said Ms Hwang Yu-Ning, URAʼs chief planner.
The central area also includes retail and entertainment clusters at Orchard and the Singapore River, as well as arts, cultural and heritage areas such as the Civic District, Bras Basah and Bugis.
Further south, the site currently occupied by Keppel Club will also be redeveloped for waterfront housing after the current lease expires in 2021, URA said.
The site – which is close to Telok Blangah and Labrador MRT stations – is part of the expansive 2,000-hectare Greater Southern Waterfront project stretching from Pasir Panjang to Marina East.
Some of the development in the Greater Southern Waterfront will begin within the next five to 10 years.
“Plans for areas such as Farrer Park, Keppel and Rochor are still under detailed study. Moreover, as the Greater Southern Waterfront and Paya Lebar Air Base are areas to be developed only in the longer term, we have not embarked on detailed planning for these areas,” said a URA spokesperson.
Besides the central area, new housing and amenities will be also added to the new Bayshore precinct in the Upper East Coast area, and the mature towns of Dakota Crescent and Farrer Park.
A park will be built along the old sea walls, which are characteristic of East Coast Park, as a reminder of its heritage.
When completed, the new Bayshore precinct will have two MRT stations, Bayshore and Bedok South MRT stations. It will also be a car-lite.
precinct, prioritising walking and cycling with a public transit street lined with shops, food outlets and amenities.
URA said that going forward, future residential precincts will continue to be sustainable, green, community-centric and car-lite, with easy access to a range of public spaces and amenities. Amenities will also be located in one-stop centres similar to Our Tampines Hub to make it easier for residents to shop, dine and engage in family-bonding activities under one roof.
For an existing mature town such as Farrer Park, new housing will open up choices for those seeking to live near the city, URA said. Familiar landmarks such as the Farrer Park Swimming Pool and former Boxing Gym will be retained, while a sports field and park that will be integrated with future housing will allow residents to bond over sports and recreational activities, said URA.
Dakota Crescent can expect to see more public housing, which will be planned around the six preserved Singapore Improvement Trust blocks nearby, while the iconic Dove Playground will be retained for its heritage
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