Chance to breathe new life into selected sites under unique programme by SLA and URA, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Chance to breathe new life into selected sites under unique programme by SLA and URA

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Programme offering bidders chance to propose development ideas for existing buildings and state land

If you have ever had a burning ambition to transform a fire station, now's your chance.

The old Bukit Timah fire station is one of six sites - existing buildings and state land - that are going up for tender with bidders encouraged to propose innovative development ideas.

The tenders are being offered under a programme called Reinventing Spaces into Vibrant Places (RSVP) launched yesterday by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

They hope members of the public, including business owners, architects and designers, will join forces and test business concepts in the selected spaces.

The first property up for tender comprises two shophouses that the SLA restored and converted into one unit at 45 Sultan Gate in the heart of the Kampong Glam Historical District.

The other sites - Bukit Timah fire station, 30 Maxwell Road, 15-31 Hindoo Road, the old Kallang Airport at Stadium Link and a plot at Marina Bay - will go up for tender progressively.

Three-year leases will be granted with renewals for up to two terms.

"As the custodian of state land and properties, SLA strives to optimise available sites in creative ways," said Ms Yap Eai-Sy, its director of business planning and development.

"Many state properties such as the old Kallang Airport and Bukit Timah Fire Station are iconic and have a long and rich history. We see opportunities for these sites to be creatively adapted for different uses that can complement and meet the needs of the community."

The proposals will be evaluated based on their ability to "reinforce and complement the unique charm and character of the area, and enhance visitor experience through suitable and innovative programming", said the agencies.

Other sites that might be viable for the scheme, such as shophouse units, standalone buildings, utility infrastructure and public spaces, will be identified for future tenders.

The bids for 45 Sultan Gate will be assessed with equal weightage on price and quality of concept to ensure "a robust assessment" of the tenderers' financial standing and to make sure the projects are compatible with the rest of the precinct.

The agencies did not say if this weightage will apply to the other sites.

Heritage conservation expert Johannes Widodo said Kampong Glam holds a significant place in Singapore's history with many notable features such as a royal palace, a cosmopolitan marketplace and settlement, and a hub for the Haj pilgrimage with links to the Nusantara archipelago and Arabian peninsula.

He added that while the new projects have to be economically viable, they should attempt to reconnect these attributes from the past with the future, and to make them relevant to the contemporary and future generations.

"A city should keep the memories of place from the past, and carry those memories forward into the future through good management of change."

Tenders for 45 Sultan Gate close on July 23. The SLA and URA websites have more information.