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Kampong Bugis master developer tender to be launched in 1 to 2 years

24 Apr, 2018

A TENDER for a master developer to redevelop Kampong Bugis near the Kallang River into a car-lite residential precinct will be called in the next one to two years, The Business Times understands.

The land up for tender, likely to stand at about 13 ha, is expected to have a 99-year leasehold. It includes a cordoned-off 3.14 ha area, which is where Kallang Gasworks used to stand; the facility ceased operations when national gas production was relocated to Senoko Gasworks in 1997.

The area will exclude existing developments on the fringe of the total 17-ha area, such as the freehold Riverine by the Park and Kallang Riverside Condominium and the Sri Manmatha Karuneshvarar Temple.

The tender will allow a master developer to oversee both master planning and development for what the government envisions as a waterfront neighbourhood with a network of pedestrian and cycling paths connecting residents of 4,000 private homes to public transport options.

The neighbourhood's being "car-lite" will entail providing only one parking space for every two homes - 50 per cent below the minimum standard for residential developments.

In a joint announcement on Thursday, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) said a tender has been called for remediation works to be done at the former Kallang Gasworks site. The process entails treating the soil there; an earlier site assessment had found chemicals such as aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals, which are typically found in land that has been used for gas production. The remediation works are expected to be completed by 2022.

The SLA and National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a statement late on Thursday that the remediation works are unlikely to pose any health risks to the community. The works will be carried out in enclosed facilities, with proper control measures and in line with international standards and local laws. The works will be done by a qualified contractor, who will be supervised and validated by an experienced independent SLA-appointed consultant.

In response to questions from the media, the SLA said soil and groundwater samplings have been taken at multiple off-site locations. "These site assessments show that the chemicals have not migrated from the site to the surroundings."

The SLA has also gazetted for acquisition a 914 sq m plot of freehold land from Singapore-Johore Express to integrate it into the surrounding state land. Housed there currently is a temporary showflat for the adjacent Kallang Riverside condominium developed by the transport company.

Experts said the tender for a master developer to redevelop Kampong Bugis will likely attract a consortium, given the large scale of the project.

Savills Singapore's senior director for research and consultancy Alan Cheong expressed concern about the timing of the Bugis tender. "The site is attractive because of the waterfront with a view that's unencumbered, but the risk is that developers may get sucked into the collective-sale fever, reducing their firepower."

But Nicholas Mak, ZACD Group's executive director, thinks the government's support of the Kampong Bugis project, combined with the site's proximity to stations along the MRT's East-West Line, could attract developers and town planners or major architects to go into it together in a consortium. He also does not believe the remediation works will spook buyers. "Potential homebuyers won't be overly worried because they may believe the government will do a good job," he said.

Adapted from The Business Times, Apr 20, 2018.