Singapore Government Press Release
Media Division, Ministry of Information and The Arts
36th Storey, PSA Building, 460 Alexandra Road, Singapore 119963. Tel: 3757794/5
SPEECH BY MR LIM HNG KIANG, MINISTER FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND SECOND MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE SINGAPORE AIRLINES BUILDING ON TUES, 11 NOV 97 AT 11.00 AM AT ROBINSON ROAD
Mr S Dhanabalan
Ladies and gentlemen.
Last year, I had announced that we will be building a New Downtown on the reclaimed land of Marina Bay. Today, you would have read in the papers about the detailed plans for the New Downtown that were announced by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Our New Downtown of the 21st century will complement the present Downtown in spurring Singapore’s growth as a global business hub. The Central and Bayfront Subzones of the New Downtown alone would offer up to about 3 million sq m of office space. This is equivalent to what the existing CBD offers today.
To complement each other well, our existing Downtown cannot remain static, or worse deteriorate. It has to match the tempo and rhythm of the developments in the New Downtown.
To remain relevant to modern business needs, our present Downtown is undergoing a process of self-renewal, redevelopment and upgrading. New developments are springing up while old buildings are being refurbished. An example is this new SIA Building, with a gross floor area of 35,000 sq m and a 35-storey office tower. A few metres away from this building, construction of the new POSB Headquarters is in progress. Also coming up nearby are the Springleaf Towers opposite the International Plaza and future development on the URA commercial sale site at Robinson Road which was sold last year.
The new buildings are designed as intelligent buildings to meet the needs of modern businesses and a sophisticated workforce. I am told that this new SIA Building is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. These include high-speed lifts with an artificial intelligence control system and an auxiliary air-conditioning system for round-the-clock operations. The building also boasts of a central computer-based Building Automation System. This will monitor all mechanical and electrical services to ensure the smooth operation of all systems within the building.
We can expect more commercial developments to come up in the future. The Government’s blueprint for the existing Downtown has provided for an increase of 25 per cent in commercial space. All these new developments will certainly inject new vigour and greater vibrancy into the existing Downtown.
Ladies and gentlemen, a key challenge in any Downtown is to inject life and activity after office hours.
We will introduce more housing into the existing Downtown, especially in the Tanjong Pagar area, to create a critical mass for a livelier city centre. There will be about 800 new housing units to encourage more people to stay in the city. Recently, I had announced plans for a new 50-storey residential block to be built in the Tanjong Pagar area. About another 250 new housing units are also being built in the Club Street area. New offices and restaurants in refurbished shophouses have also sprung up in these two areas.
In the China Square area, active rejuvenation is well underway. Old buildings are being adapted to new uses while new ones are being built to blend in with the character of the place. Singaporeans can look forward to the China Square Food Centre, which will be Singapore’s largest food court. This will form another new activity hub in the present Downtown.
We will also upgrade our pedestrian network in the present Downtown. New developments will have integrated pedestrian links for a comfortable walk between MRT stations and buildings. The city centre will be a pedestrian-friendly area.
Our present Downtown will grow and expand seamlessly into the new Downtown. We will transform the entire waterfront area from Marina Centre to the scenic Marina Bay, where the New Downtown will be built, into an exciting strip. There will be tree-lined walkways and open cafes. The Esplanade, Theatres on the Bay, will be a hub for arts and cultural activities. Together, the present Downtown and the New Downtown will provide the twin engines for Singapore’s growth into a global business centre in the 21st century.
This new landmark SIA Building will contribute not only to the modern skyline of Singapore, but will also bring about more hustle and bustle to our present Downtown.
It is now my pleasure to declare the SIA Building open.