Category Archives: Rochor-Kallang

Rochor River, Rochor Bugis, Kallang River, Little India, Jalan Besar

Bugis Arts district getting a fresh breath of life

An artist's impression of Queen Street (above) after the URA's renovation of the area is completed.

TWIRLING ballerinas, martial arts students and guzheng players could soon take to the newly widened sidewalks of the Queen Street area to showcase their art, and bring life to an otherwise quiet stretch in the city.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is providing more room for the eclectic mix of arts organisations based there to stage activities along the street. Besides widening the sidewalks, it has installed benches and created coach drop-off points as well.

The renovations to make the street more pedestrian-friendly are expected to be completed by the middle of this year.

Arts groups say they have been eagerly waiting to use the outdoor space for activities to engage the public on a regular basis, since the authorities told them a few years ago that it was going to rejuvenate the quiet street.

Some tenants, such as 2902 Gallery, receive as few as 10 visitors a day on Saturdays and Sundays.

But successful street festivals such as the annual Singapore Night Festival, which drew more than 400,000 people to performances held in Waterloo Street, Queen Street and Armenian Street in August last year, have demonstrated the potential that the area has to host outdoor events.

Art Trove Gallery and Museum operations director Roy Quek said he moved his gallery to Waterloo Street four years ago because he had heard about the plans for the area.

He said: “The revitalisation effort has been a long time coming and will help shine the spotlight on the great concentration of arts organisations located in the district.”

Several national monuments and conserved buildings are located in the area, which is also home to arts groups such as Forte Musicademy, Art Bug and The Private Museum.

The Singapore Art Museum and arts facilities such as Dance Ensemble Singapore and Sculpture Square are also in the vicinity.

Despite the proximity, tenants say there is little synergy between the groups because they run their own classes behind closed doors.

With planning by a central coordinating body, they envision monthly parades and scheduled outdoor showcases, which could lead to an exponential growth in visitor numbers.

Singapore Ballet Academy principal Jeffrey Tan said: “Now that the sidewalks are wider, it will be safer for us to plan outdoor performances for our young pupils, who are mostly between five and 10 years old.”

Other groups say they will also save on publicity and rental costs of private indoor spaces like theatres.

But residents and business owners say the changes have aggravated the traffic congestion.

Waterloo Apartments resident Xu Yu Hua, 55, said: “The wider pavements eat into the road and it is just not feasible because the traffic here is already very bad.”

“The hotels bring in big tourists buses, which can cause 20-minute jams during peak hours, and we have to make a big detour to avoid the road,” added Ms Xu, who is a trader.

The URA said it has designated coach drop-off points to cater to the hotels and places of interest in the vicinity.

Some residents also fear that the quiet of the area will be disrupted. Student Margaret Aniela, 19, who also lives in Waterloo Apartments, hoped the events will take place in the day “as it might be hard to sleep at night if it’s too noisy”.

OM The Arts Centre coordinator Gim Lee thinks everyone will benefit from the new plans. The centre runs guzheng and erhu classes, among others.

“The area is teeming with talent and I look forward to a more lively place, where the public can mingle with musicians, calligraphers and dancers,” he said.

“Art, culture and heritage are meant to be shared.”

http://stcommunities.straitstimes.com/show/2014/03/04/breathing-new-life-arts-district-queens-street

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BT: Non-residential deals to remain active

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/specials/property/non-residential-deals-remain-active-h2-20140715

Non-residential deals will continue to drive investment activity in Singapore for the rest of this year, given faltering sales in the tepid private residential market, DTZ said in a report yesterday.

The report found that overall real estate investments fell around 11 per cent from the previous quarter to $4.4 billion in Q2.

And although non-residential investments (particularly offices) drove the volume, they too fell 6 per cent to $2.9 billion on muted transactions in the hospitality and mixed-use sectors.

At least six big-ticket non-residential property deals were concluded in Q2.

In the commercial sector, three office properties – Prudential Tower, Equity Plaza and Cecil House – all along Cecil Street in the central business district, were transacted. A consortium of Far East Organization, Far East Orchard and Sekisui House also beat seven others in a government land sales tender to clinch a 99-year-leasehold commercial site on Woodlands Avenue 5/Woodlands Square for $634 million.

In retail, Frasers Centrepoint Trust acquired Changi City Point at Changi Business Park for $305 million; in Industrial, Ascendas Reit bought Hyflux Innovation Centre at 80 Bendemeer Road for $191 million.

The transactions in Q2 brought the total investment volume in the first half of 2014 to $9.4 billion, 17 per cent lower than the same period last year. It also looks on track to achieve the earlier forecast of $20-25 billion for the full year.

Property companies and real estate investment trusts (Reits) were the main drivers of activity in Q2. Property companies were the largest buyers, accounting for $3.1 billion or 71 per cent of investment activity.

Reits were also very active, but their divestments of $512 million exceeded their acquisitions of $496 million, making them net sellers in Q2. This is expected to reverse in Q3, though. Acquisitions are likely to be boosted by the listing of Frasers Hospitality Trust.

The trust’s initial portfolio will comprise six hotels and six serviced residences, including two – InterContinental Singapore and Fraser Suites Singapore – located in Singapore. Both will be injected for a combined value of $824.1 million.

Swee Shou Fern, DTZ’s director of investment advisory services, expects Reit and developer acquisitions to continue supporting investment activity going forward.

“As global real estate markets start to improve, investors and funds are becoming more positive about the performance of the real estate . . . market. This could see them increasing their allocations to real estate and Singapore could benefit, being one of the most liquid markets in the region,” she said.

A Colliers report released last week turned up similar findings and projected similar trends.

It blamed the slump in residential investment sales on “the double whammy of frail investor interests in en bloc and strata-titled properties, as well as anaemic developers’ quest for land acquisition via collective sales”.

“In the next six months of the year, sales emanating from (government) land sales are forecast to stay subdued. On the private sector front, the collective sales market will likely remain depressed as the same factors that have kept it at a standstill will continue to play out in the months ahead,” it projects.

The consultancy expects interest in commercial properties to gather pace, backed by a steadily recovering office rental market.

“In addition, small and mid-sized family offices or single family offices are increasingly shifting their asset allocation towards property-oriented investments, particularly that of good quality office buildings that have potential upside in yield and capital appreciation. More of such deals can be expected to be sealed in the coming quarters,” it said.

District 7’s new gate to the city

District 7 is getting  a lot of buzz recently. The impending launch of the City Gate mixed development in Jalan Sultan is drawing attention back to the Kampong Glam district.

Its charm as a historical and cultural zone may give it a head start over many areas but it is its location – on the edge of the city centre and close to retail and entertainment amenities – that is its strongest suit, property consultants said.

Plans to develop the surrounding Beach Road and Ophir-Rochor corridor into a district of mixed- use projects will underpin the investment outlook in the mid- to long term, they said.

“The location on the city fringe translates into easy convenience when commuting to the premier shopping belt of Orchard Road or the central business district,” said Ms Chia Siew Chuin, director for research and advisory at Colliers International.

The 30-storey City Gate is on the site of the former Keypoint, which was acquired by World Class Land for S$360 million from Frasers Commercial Trust in 2012.

The 99-year leasehold project in Beach Road will feature 311 flats – one- and two-bedroom units of 431 to 570 sq ft, two-bedroom and three-bedroom dual-key units of 678 to 1,066 sq ft and one- to four-bedroom penthouses that range from 484 to 1,819 sq ft.

It will also have 188 commercial units, ranging from 280 to 3,735 sq ft.

Residential units are expected to go for S$1,900 to S$2,000 per sq ft (psf) and commercial units could sell for S$4,000 to S$5,000 psf, marketing materials show.

This makes it cheaper than the mixed development DUO in Ophir Road, which was launched by developer M+S at an average selling price of S$2,000 psf last November. DUO is in the city centre, unlike City Gate, noted R’ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

Two 829 sq ft units at the 360-unit Concourse Skyline, developed by Hong Fok Land, went for S$1,810 to S$2,075 psf in the fourth quarter last year. But 101 units remain unsold since the completed project was launched at about S$1,590 psf in 2008.

Ms Christine Li, research head at OrangeTee, said the new supply of homes from City Gate could place pressure on the developer to lower prices at Concourse Skyline to shift units, especially with the cooling measures in place.

Older developments in the area include the 132-unit Textile Centre, where four units have sold at median prices ranging from S$911 to S$926 psf over the past year.

At The Plaza – a strata-titled 32-storey mixed-use building owned by UOL Group – two units changed hands at a median price of S$1,257 psf a year ago.

In this year’s first quarter, 13 leases were signed at The Plaza at a median rent of S$4.06 psf, said Mr Ong. He felt that owners of units in the new developments can expect strong rental demand, saying “this is a convenient location”.

Highly accessible

The location on the city fringe translates into easy convenience when commuting to the premier shopping belt of Orchard Road or the central business district. – Ms Chia Siew Chuin, of Colliers International

– See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/unlocking-the-gate-the-citys-charms#sthash.IQa1Tewc.dpuf

Sports Hub free usage while time allows

From late June 2014, the Singapore Sports Hub will unveil the Experience Sports Programme to the community – starting with an introductory period from 28 June till 30 July before the official programme kicks-off in August 2014.

This is an all inclusive in-house community programme that will allow everyone to participate for FREE.

From learning to play a new sport, to having a go at fun try-outs or just letting the kids jump around in the Experience Sports Village, there’ll be nothing short of fun activities for everyone at the Singapore Sports Hub every weekend and occasionally on weekdays.​

With the guidance of certified coaches, the Sports Hub will provide fun learning experiences for all. Their “Learn To Play” programme is designed for all ages, all sporting abilities and for all proficiency levels.

Whether you’ve ever held a badminton racquet, just played for fun at the playground or can hit a mean cross-court smash, Experience Badminton, is for you!

If you had always wondered what sand feels like in your face, Experience Beach Volleyball can be the right tonic for your Saturday.

Every Saturdays and Sundays, all year round, the Singapore Sports Hub will have a new sport for you to Experience.

See more details from the Sports Hub Home page. http://www.sportshub.com.sg/community/Pages/experience-sports.aspx