URA Draft Master Plan 2019: More homes planned for CBD and Marina Bay

More housing will be built in the core downtown of Singapore's business district and the Marina Bay precinct under the new URA Master Plan.

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Two new incentive schemes aimed at rejuvenating the Central Business District (CBD) and commercial buildings with more housing and hotels were announced by Nationa Development minister, Mr. Lawrence Wong.

Their aim at injecting ‘life’ into these areas beyond working hours, and comes as part of the latest Draft Master Plan by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

The Master Plan details the country’s future land use for the next decade up to 15 years and is revised every 5 years. A public exhibition was also launched together with feedback on the latest plans.

Among them, new housing for several mature estates and plans for developing the Greater Southern Waterfront in the next 5 to 10 years. And for the first time also, ideas for the space vacated by Paya Lebar Airbase from the year 2030 were published.

The URA Draft Master Plan includes incentive schemes aimed at refreshing commercial areas like the CBD. One will offer gross plot ratios which will be higher than the current to encourage the conversion of existing office spaces into hotels or housing.

And it’s the latest effort by the government to get more people to live or stay in the heart of town.

The government hopes that this will change for major CBD areas along Shenton Way, Anson Road, Robinson Road, Cecil Street and some areas in Tanjong Pagar. The CBD incentive scheme will take effect for these places when the draft master plan of 2019 being gazetted later in the year.

Developers and building owners will get an increment of the existing plot ratio – between 25 percent to 30 percent, depending on the locations of these sites.

With this, they’ll be given more floor area to work with. Also, these office buildings will get allowable land use that is widely used for constructing a hotel development to a private condominium which will have some shop spaces on the first floor of the project.

Still, only predominantly office buildings built a last refurbish at least 20 years ago are eligible.

An expert also out that city living may not be suitable for everyone.

He believes that city living may appeal to people who work near the CBD area which can reduce their commuting time. It may be more relevant for youngs and expatriate family without children or with small families. However, a family with children will still probably prefer to have a community where they have access to market, schools and other neighborhood amenities.

Beyond the CBD, URA also wants to provide encouragement to private property developers and owners to consider plans to rejuvenate their existing building structures which are relatively old.

They come under another new initiative – the Strategic Development Incentive Scheme, which is applicable island-wide and already in effect

Mr. Lawerence Wong mentioned that the intent is to spur owners of commercial buildings to collaborate and earnestly redevelop properties which are adjacent to one another. So what the government looks for is not simply a ‘one-building’ redevelopment.

Instead, it is looking at comprehensive redevelopment, resolute innovative proposals that will help to give the streets a whole new look or even the entire precinct.

Proposals must include a minimum of 2 adjacent plots unless one is sizable enough on its own to spur sufficient transformation in the precinct.

According to the URA, there are over 50,000 homes within the central area today, with a potential to inject over 20,000 more.

Some 2,000 private homes are being planned for in Marina South with others upcoming in the downtown and Rocher area. These will add on to some of the latest private housing projects such as Marina One Residences and V on Shenton.

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