Monday, June 18, 2012

New private home sales plunge 32%

Straits Times: Fri, Jun 15
DEVELOPMENT plans for the Kallang area are being reviewed in a bid to breathe new life into the rejuvenation of the precinct.

The Government is looking at amalgamating smaller development sites there into larger sites that could then be used for major mixed-use developments.

As part of this shake-up, the vacant Kallang Airport site, which once housed the People's Association (PA) headquarters, could be added to redevelopment plans.

The issue entered the spotlight this week when the National Development Ministry announced that it is removing two hotel sites on the Kallang Riverside from the reserve list of the Government Land Sales programme for July to December for review. The sites were made available for sale in June 2009, and again in June last year, but did not draw any acceptable bids from developers.

Experts say feedback from developers might have led the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to reassess plans for the area.

The 2008 URA Master Plan envisioned that the district could become a vibrant waterfront growth area and commercial hub.

The URA told The Straits Times that it is taking the opportunity to study the possible amalgamation of various sites in the Kallang area as there is scope for integrating the various land parcels there into larger mixed-use ones.

Plans for the adjacent Kallang airport 'white site' and other neighbouring sites are being reviewed too. White sites can be developed for a range of uses.

Industry players say the review is likely to draw interest as Kallang is one of the three commercial hubs selected to provide alternative business locations. The other two are Jurong and Paya Lebar.

But some experts say the Kallang hotel sites might not have attracted adequate bids as other hotel sites in more established city locations were on offer.

Mr Teo Hong Lim, executive chairman of developer Roxy-Pacific Holdings, said he would be keen to give the Kallang area another look once the URA firms up its plans. The area has good potential for growth, given its proximity to Marina Bay and the upcoming sports hub.

'It depends on how the sites are integrated. The project could be quite sizeable and might require a joint venture to take on the project, but it would be an interesting development,' he said.

Kallang Airport, opened in 1937, was the first civil airport here. The art deco-style building was hailed as a gem of the British empire, but closed in 1955. From 1960 to 2009, the PA used the main building as its headquarters...
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