Tag Archives: URA

Prices of office space flat in Q2 after a 0.5% increase in Q1; prices of retail space fell 0.3 % after remaining unchanged in the previous quarter.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/prices-of-office-retail/1281694.html

Sgbayhomes office

Prices of office space were flat in the second quarter after a 0.5 per cent increase in the first quarter, while prices of retail space fell 0.3 per cent after remaining unchanged in the previous quarter, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said on Friday (July 25).

Rental prices of office space in the second quarter rose 2.8 per cent from the previous three months, following the 2.4 per cent increase in the first quarter. Rental prices of retail space in the second quarter also increased, rising by 0.6 per cent in the second quarter, compared with the decline of 0.3 per cent in the January to March period.

As of end-June, there was a total supply of about 1.055 million square metre (sqm) gross floor area of office space in the pipeline, and a supply of 879,000 sqm gross floor area of retail space from projects in the works.

The amount of occupied office space increased by 22,000 sqm in the second quarter, compared with the 6,000 sqm increase in the previous quarter. During the quarter, the stock of office space decreased by 1,000 sqm, compared with the increase of 15,000 sqm in the previous quarter. As a result, the islandwide vacancy rate of office space at the end of June fell to 9.6 per cent, from 10 per cent at the end of March.

According to URA, the amount of occupied retail space increased by 38,000 sqm in the second quarter, while the stock of retail space increased by 49,000 sqm. As a result, the islandwide vacancy rate of retail space rose to 5.9 per cent at the end of June, up from 5.8 per cent at the end of March.

Prices of private residential properties fell by 1 % on-quarter in Q2, following a 1.3 % decrease in the first quarter

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/private-property-prices/1281612.html

Prices of private residential properties in the second quarter fell by 1 per cent from the previous quarter – the third consecutive quarter of decline, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said on Friday (July 25).

The price decline was observed across all segments of the private residential property market, URA said.

Prices of non-landed properties in the Core Central Region (CCR) declined by 1.5 per cent from the previous quarter, following the 1.1 per cent decrease in the January to March period. Prices in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) declined by 0.4 per cent, after decreasing by 3.3 per cent in the previous quarter. In the Outside Central Region (OCR), prices declined by 0.9 per cent, after the 0.1 per cent decline in the previous quarter. Prices of landed properties declined by 1.7 per cent, significantly more than the decrease of 0.7 per cent in the previous quarter.

Rentals of private residential properties in the second quarter fell by 0.6 per cent from the previous quarter, compared with a 0.7 per cent decline in the January to March period.

LAUNCHES AND TAKE-UP

Developers launched 2,843 uncompleted private residential units excluding Executive Condominiums (ECs) in the second quarter, compared with 1,964 units in the first quarter, URA said. A total of 2,665 private residential units (excluding ECs) were sold by developers during the quarter, compared with 1,744 units in the January to March period.

No new EC units were launched for sale during the quarter. Developers sold 154 EC units in the second quarter, compared with the 149 units sold in the previous quarter.

RESALES AND SUB-SALES

The number of resale transactions rose to 1,314 in the second quarter, up from 941 transactions in the previous quarter. Resale transactions accounted for 31.9 per cent of all sale transactions during the quarter, compared with 33.5 per cent in the first quarter.

There were 139 sub-sale transactions in the second quarter 2014, compared with 128 transactions in the previous quarter. Sub-sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of all sale transactions in the quarter, lower than the 4.6 per cent recorded in the January to March period.

URA plan to unlock Boat Quay

Straits Times Mar 21 2014

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) launched a tender on Thursday for consultant teams to study how outdoor dining areas along the quay can be made more appealing.

According to a media briefing on Wednesday, proposed changes include replacing existing canopies and partitions with structures such as retractable roofs that do not block views of the river.

Signs and menu boards that block the public walkway may be removed, while overhead wires could be moved underground.

“Boat Quay has seen low visitorship over the years due to negative public reviews and its lacklustre appearance,” said Mr Wilson Tan, chairman of Singapore River One, which manages Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.

Singapore Tourism Board figures show that the share of tourists visiting the Singapore River has dropped from 18 per cent to 15 per cent from 2009 to 2012.

Views of the river were clear when Boat Quay’s outdoor dining areas were introduced in the 1990s. However, after 2002, tent structures were allowed and these blocked the view of the river as well as that of shophouses on the opposite bank.

These days, huge menu boards and canopies of different colours and logos line the promenade, giving it an inconsistent and disorganised feel. Shops have also long been plagued by complaints of touting and overcharging.

Singapore River One has been consulting stakeholders about the proposed revamp, said Mr Tan. They include 36 landlords and 41 businesses along the waterfront.

Construction work will go ahead only if most stakeholders agree to the consultant team’s proposal, he added.

But some tenants worry that revenue would be hit when outdoor areas close for renovations.

Dallas Restaurant and Bar’s owner Jason Pope, 49, said: “It will impact us financially to a certain extent.”

Other than tidying up the promenade, longer-term plans include bringing in a different tenant mix from the current food and beverage outlets.

“We’re looking at speciality shops such as high-end tailors, barber shops and niche consulting businesses for the upper storeys of the shophouses,” said Mr Tan.

His group formed a Boat Quay sub-committee this month to provide feedback and ideas on how to improve business. There are also plans for checks to keep the area tidy.

URA’s tender for consultants closes on April 3.

News of the planned revamp was welcomed on Thursday by property marketing executive Damon Giam, 26, who “hardly” dines at Boat Quay though he works nearby.

He said: “It would be nice if I could have a quiet dinner right by the riverside. Right now, that whole place is quite rowdy.”

BT: Inspiration behind MBFC

Picture

THE recently released Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Master Plan 2013 highlights Marina Bay as the new financial and residential district in the urban city centre.

Currently, the Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC), which saw its second phase completed earlier this year, is the only development on the new Marina Bay site. Consisting of five buildings – two residential and three commercial, MBFC was designed as a landmark development, artistically merging the older part of the business district with future developments by Marina Bay.

Developed as a joint venture (JV) by Cheung Kong (Holdings), Hongkong Land and Keppel Land, MBFC was envisioned by the developers to provide a dynamic urban environment that would create a strong profile on the Singapore skyline.

To achieve this vision, international architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), the lead designers behind MBFC, incorporated the idea of a crystalline language using sloping surfaces and slanted tops to give a sense of layering and depth.

KPF architects Robert Whitlock and Bruce Fisher explained that while the design team started out with a more dramatic concept for the buildings, the concepts had to be reconciled with both the height limits of the area and the fundamentally commercial nature of the development.

“The tops of the buildings in the original design were conceived with steep angles and poetic expressions,” explained Mr Whitlock, design principal at KPF, during an interview with BT at the firm’s New York head office.

“From an architectural point of view, there was a lot of pressure to balance the architectural expression, in terms of an iconic set of buildings, with numerous client requirements, particularly efficiencies, that tempered building forms,” said Bruce Fisher, director, KPF.

Owing to the massive scale of the MBFC projects, which spans a four hectare site – synonymous in scale to London’s Canary Wharf, the KPF team worked closely with two local architectural firms – DCA for Phase 1 and A61 for Phase 2 – to ensure the project kept to its tight deadline and met all the requirements.

“Our role for the project was to advise on local authority guidelines and how to achieve the design intent while complying with the stringent requirements. We were more involved in the layout of the residential units based on the developer’s complex unit mix, working closely with KPF to fit the units within the building form and external envelope,” explained Khoo Poh Bin, director, DCA.

The A61 team, on the other hand, worked more closely on the commercial towers given their past expertise on such projects, including working on One Raffles Quay with KPF.

Although the tasks were distributed, the team essentially worked as one to ensure coherence and continuity in fulfilling the developers’ vision. As Mr Khoo noted: “The 12-hour time difference meant work continued without interruption 24/7. We would finish our part in Singapore and update KPF in New York for them to carry on and vice versa, which proved to be an ideal arrangement for the developer.”

According to Mr Whitlock, the developers had very exacting guidelines on how they envisioned the buildings to look and perform with full glass façades and no curved elements in the form.

“The JV’s brief was based entirely on the perceived needs of the financial services community, with a requirement for very efficient floor plates and unlimited views. The horizontal sunshades gave us a way to provide some variation and environmental performance to the facades while delivering floor to ceiling glass, edge to edge,” said Mr Whitlock.

Furthermore, given that MBFC was primarily a commercial venture, there was no need for it to be as dramatically configured, per se, added Mr Fisher.

The workhorse

“The MBFC is really the incredible work horse of Singapore and perhaps, because of that, a little less expressive than say the casino or the Esplanade,” Mr Fisher said.

The URA, too, had a list of requirements. For one, they required that the buildings’ glass exterior meet a minimum glazing level and not have a green tint.

“One Raffles Quay and the NTUC building, which create a sort of gateway to Marina Bay, were clad in green glass and the URA requested a different expression for the MBFC project so that there would be more visual diversity to the area,” commented Mr Whitlock.

Additionally, URA’s guidelines stipulated that there be a street wall, at least 19 metres in height, surrounding most of the site, to create continuity between adjacent development sites. “At heart, this is an urban planning gesture that helps to provide a sense of defined space,” explained Mr Fisher.

However, based on the design of the site, the architects felt that a solid wall would not fill the space adequately, and hence offered alternative solutions.

The design team proposed that the site have 19-metre canopies, instead of a wall, to allow for an open, less restrictive, appearance. “With the canopies, we ended up with a structure that defines the street edge but is very porous,” said Mr Fisher.

“The wall requirement was not working for the architecture, so we had to present alternatives. The URA gave us guidelines, but as with most zoning guidelines, the authorities cannot always predict exactly how guidelines will translate into the final build-out,” he continued. “It is really up to the architects to take this abstract concept and challenge it, to achieve the best results for all parties.”

In consideration of the different requirements – both from the developers and the URA, the architects eventually altered the designs to showcase a lesser degree of dramatic expression to allow for more efficient and dense buildings that complemented the surrounding architecture.

In addition, as Mr Whitlock explained: “The MBFC buildings needed to be more than what you see in the old city where you have a lot of distinct buildings coming together to represent an urban identity, just by virtue of proximity and density.”

“We were trying to find a common architectural language that is appropriate for both commercial and residential uses to allow the architecture of each building to be a little bit subordinate to the collective identity.”

Although the architects faced challenges in trying to deliver a design that met demands of both the developers and the URA, the MBFC site was an area they were extremely familiar with.

Back in 2001, KPF was independently commissioned by Mapletree Investments to conduct studies on the type of programmes and density that should be put on the Marina Bay site.

This was because the master plan that had been in place for a decade needed revision, based on a new understanding within the URA on how the landfill site might be developed to meet today’s needs.

“We did a study for them to look at the application of a mixed-use model that would bring multiple uses to the site and make the most of its adjacency to both Marina Bay and the traditional banking centre,” explained Mr Whitlock.

According to KPF, Mapletree used the study to carry out their own research internally before releasing tender conditions to bidders in 2003, for the Marina Bay white site.

The development guidelines eventually released to interested bidders took KPF’s preliminary studies to an entirely new level.

“There is a huge leap from deciding that you want to develop a site to establishing a framework that will set up the proper moves for later development,” said Mr Whitlock.

Balancing all needs

While KPF’s underlying concepts of connectivity to the traditional city centre, provision of public open space and introduction of the mixed use model were implemented in Mapletree’s revised plans, the main difference was the requirement for a higher density area and for the site to be fully integrated with all of the city’s other systems and infrastructure.

With the new guidelines they received, KPF spent a great deal of time contemplating the layout of the buildings to allow for architectural expression, without compromising on the practical and utilitarian needs of the site. “A traditional master plan development might have placed the buildings as squares on a chessboard where everything lines up. We chose however to subtly rotate the towers to maximize views in all the buildings and relieve the feeling of density on the site,” Mr Whitlock said.

However, despite the stringent guidelines and myriad requirements, the architects felt that such a process enables better architecture.

As Mr Whitlock noted: “When you work on a project like this, you start to have a different understanding of architecture. Typically, an architect is trying to design a building that is built on a site. They want it to be beautiful and expressive of both the owner’s and architect’s aspirations. With any luck, it tries to find some clues with the local context so it does not feel like it has been dropped from a spaceship.

“But when you have to design a whole city within a city in a way where it has some richness, some subtlety, and an endless play between the built environment and public spaces, all of which must relate to the rest of the city – it takes things to an entirely different level.”

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

Continued dismay for private housing market

The number of units sold in June fell by 68 per cent from the previous month to 482 units, according to data by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Sales of private homes by developers in Singapore fell by about two-thirds in June from May, hurt by ongoing Government measures to cool the housing market.

Data compiled by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Tuesday (July 15) showed developers sold 482 units in June, down 68 per cent from May when sales of 1,488 units were booked.

The bulk of the sales involved homes located outside the central region, with 269 units changing hands. Another 46 sales were made in the central region, while the rest of central region accounted for 167 units, the URA data revealed.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/singapore/singapore-private-home/1264624.html DSC06973

URA announcement for H2 GLS

The Government today announced the second half 2014 (2H2014) GLS Programme, which will comprise 9 Confirmed List sites and 14 Reserve List sites. These sites can yield up to 10,200 private residential units, including 1,500 Executive Condominium (EC) units, and 352,000 sqm gross floor area (GFA) of commercial space (see Appendices 1 & 2).

The supply from the 2H2014 GLS Programme, together with the large supply from projects in the pipeline, is expected to be adequate to meet the demand for private housing and commercial space over the next few years.

The Confirmed List contains 6 private residential sites (including 3 EC sites), 2 commercial & residential sites and 1 commercial site. These sites can yield about 3,900 private residential units (including 1,500 EC units) and 159,000 sqm GFA of commercial space.

The Reserve List contains 12 private residential sites, 1 commercial site and 1 White site. These sites can yield about 6,300 private residential units and 193,000 sqm GFA of commercial space.

Supply of Private Housing

The residential sites to be placed on the 2H2014 Confirmed List are located across all regions (i.e. Outside Central Region, Rest of Central Region and Core Central Region). These sites are expected to provide a supply of about 3,900 private residential units (including 1,500 EC units), which will be added to the existing large pipeline supply of more than 90,000 private residential units (including ECs).

A commercial & residential site at Holland Road will be placed on the Confirmed List as part of the Holland Village Extension plan unveiled in the Master Plan 2014. The sale of the site will further enhance the existing urban village character of the area. It will provide new housing options within a mixed use development that is well connected via pedestrian linkages to surrounding transport nodes and public spaces.

Supply of Commercial Space

The Government is releasing a commercial site at Paya Lebar Road for sale on the Confirmed List of the 2H2014 GLS Programme. The 3.98 ha site at Paya Lebar Road comprises a commercial site that was on the first half 2014 (1H2014) Reserve List and another plot of land immediately south of Paya Lebar East-West Line MRT Station. The two plots of land will be connected via a subterranean space under Sims Avenue. The sale of the larger land parcel provides greater flexibility for building design, layout and placement of uses. It will also facilitate the development of Paya Lebar Central into a commercial node, which is in line with the Government’s objective of decentralising employment centres and bringing jobs closer to homes.

In addition, the 2H2014 Reserve List will have 2 sites for office developments: a white site at Marina View and a commercial site at Beach Road. These 2 sites will provide opportunities for the market to initiate the development of more office space if there is demand.

Other Government Supply to be Made Available in 2H2014

Apart from the GLS Programme, the Government will also make available other supply of land and properties through its various agencies to meet economic or development objectives. These include localised retail facilities at HDB estates, industrial estates, MRT stations, sport facilities and community centres, as well as the leasing of vacant state properties for commercial uses.

http://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/media-room/news/2014/jun/pr14-34.aspx