Singapore, 29 March 2005 – Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, today unveiled the vision and plans for the rejuvenation of Orchard Road into one of the world’s greatest shopping streets. A rejuvenated Orchard Road is expected to contribute to the Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) Tourism 2015 targets of doubling visitor arrivals to 17 million, and tripling tourism receipts to S$30 billion. Already, $1.6 billion is expected to be invested in Orchard Road by both the private and public sectors.
Orchard Road already enjoys a reputation as a premier shopping district in the region and has consistently ranked among the top sites by visitors to Singapore. To build upon Orchard Road’s attractiveness as a shopping destination, an Orchard Road Rejuvenation Taskforce chaired by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, with representatives from STB, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Land Transport Authority (LTA), was formed in October 2003 to study ways to make Orchard Road an even more compelling destination for locals and visitors to Singapore.
Vision for Orchard Road
The Orchard Road Rejuvenation Taskforce’s vision is for Orchard Road to be a dynamic, vibrant and vital urban centre for overseas visitors and locals, and a stage for exciting events where the best of city life can be found amidst tropical gardens. The new Orchard Road will offer an endless array of unforgettable shopping, dining and entertainment experiences for visitors.
Strategic Thrusts for Rejuvenation of Orchard Road
To realize this vision, the Taskforce has identified three key strategic thrusts for the rejuvenation plans:
Strategic Thrust 1: Enhancing the Retail Experience for Visitors to Orchard Road
To bring in more innovative retail concepts, new prime sites at Orchard Road will be released by URA and STB for long and short term development.
The URA will release two prime sites at Orchard Road/Paterson Road and Orchard Road/Killiney Road for sale on the Government’s reserve list on 30 March 2005, with an expected total investment value of $1.5 billion, comprising land cost, construction costs and developers' returns.
The STB will release two short-term sites that can be used for multi-concept lifestyle establishments comprising retail, food and beverage and entertainment facilities for up to 15 years. Details of the two sites are at Annex A.
Local residents and overseas visitors to Orchard Road can also expect to see more attractive building facades as the URA has relaxed its guidelines to allow more dynamic pop-out facades on buildings along Scotts Road. With URA’s extension of gross floor area (GFA) incentives and relaxation of its guidelines to allow building owners to expand their shopping podiums up to their boundaries, shoppers can also expect more shopping space.
Orchard Road will also be an exciting place for youths, as the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) will be developing a youth community space in the 1.2 hectare area beside Orchard Cineleisure and Mandarin Hotel. This will be a vibrant and exciting space for recreational and social activities, community events and performances. MCYS will involve young Singaporeans in the design of the space, and the running of activities there when completed.
Strategic Thrust 2: Enhancing Pedestrians’ Experience on the Street
To ensure that Orchard Road remains as a premier shopping destination, the STB will invest S$40 million over three years to enhance its landscape and upgrade its infrastructure, transforming OR into a giant events stage. Works include upgrading of pedestrian walkways to facilitate staging of events, street furniture, street lighting, signage, and introduction of iconic sculptures and water features. These initiatives will improve Orchard Road’s accessibility, vibrancy, and its appeal to attract visitors from around the world. A Design Advisory Panel for Orchard Road that includes private and public members will be formed to provide direction and inputs on the design.
The new Orchard Road will engage visitors. The STB is working with various partners to introduce more exciting events and activities at the street throughout the year. Examples include street parades, outdoor fringe activities linked to major events such as Great Singapore Sale, Singapore Fashion Festival and Christmas in the Tropics, concerts and parties as well as street performances.
Travelling in Orchard Road will be easier as there will be improved traffic and pedestrian flow. Besides the new traffic schemes at Orchard Link unveiled on 10 March 2005, the LTA will commission a signalized pedestrian crossing across Orchard Road, between Claymore Road and Cuscaden Road by June 2005. This will enable pedestrians to cross Orchard Road safely and more easily to visit the nearby shopping malls.
LTA has also commenced the upgrading of the existing pedestrian underpass from Lucky Plaza to Ngee Ann City in January 2005. By refurbishing the interior of the underpass and installing new signages, LTA hopes to make the underpass more visible and accessible to pedestrians, thereby encouraging them to use the underpass for safety. Upgrading works for the underpass is expected to complete by July 2005.
Strategic Thrust 3: Collaborating Closely with Stakeholders of Orchard Road
To align and co-ordinate the interests of all stakeholders in Orchard Road, the government will work closely with private stakeholders including the Orchard Road Business Association, for a more coordinated approach in managing and promoting Orchard Road as well as in planning for events at the street. This will ensure a more holistic development of Orchard Road.
The STB has introduced two new incentive schemes which will aid our efforts to rejuvenate Orchard Road. To encourage the development of new, innovative offerings, the Investment Allowance Scheme for Flagship Concepts will be used for new investments in flagship concept stores in the retail, food and beverage and entertainment sectors approved between 1 April 2005 and 31 March 2010. These investments need not be limited to Orchard Road. To qualify for the scheme, new flagship projects must be first of its kind in South East Asia, have wide local and international appeal, and enhance Singapore's attractiveness as a choice destination for visitors.
The Concessionary Tax Rate For Approved Mega Events scheme aims to bring in mega events. Event companies will be granted a concessionary tax rate of 10% for qualifying tourism events approved between 1 April 2005 and 31 March 2010.
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