Friday, June 18, 2010

Seletar Hills market to become trendy 'village'

Far East plans mall on market site modelled after Holland Village

A NEW retail project unveiled yesterday promises to add some buzz to the quiet Seletar Hills estate, where its old Housing Board wet market used to be.

Far East Organization plans to build a 45,000 sq ft two-storey mall with all modern conveniences on the site of the former market at the corner of Seletar and Yio Chu Kang roads.

Called Greenwich V, it will have a Cold Storage supermarket, pharmacy, 24-hour convenience store and foodcourt, and a slew of other lifestyle and essential services. It will also have alfresco dining and play areas, and open space for community events and weekend markets.

What was once just four blocks of HDB flats, a wet market and a hawker centre will be transformed into a modern and trendy 'village' that could open by the end of next year.

When the old market was demolished more than five years ago for redevelopment, residents of the estate lost the only amenities they had in the vicinity.

Mr Chng Kiong Huat, Far East executive director for development and planning, told The Straits Times that Greenwich V will be big on food and beverage offerings.

'We look at this as a very heavy F&B location. We have even designed one of the buildings to become like a jewel box of sorts, a focal point where we have a major dining area right in the centre of the mall,' he said.

Other features include wide outdoor walkways between shops, thick tree canopies and a spacious central square.

The mall will house 35 retail units ranging from 185 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft. Rental prices will range between $13 and $20 per sq ft, said Far East.

The Greenwich, an adjacent five-storey 319-unit residential project also being developed by the company, will offer units from 602 sq ft to 1,227 sq ft.

Although prices are yet to be determined, sales of the residential units are expected to start within the next two months, said a Far East spokesman.

Far East lodged a bid of $119 million for the site last September. At the time, it took the industry by surprise as it was 35 per cent higher than the second bid.

Mr Chng said Far East made the move because it saw value in the land, which had been released by the Government amid much uncertainty due to the downturn. He added that his job was to create a product that could 'connect with the people around the estate'.

'If you will, Holland Village is our reference in Singapore of what it will become; if you like Holland Village, you will like this,' said Mr Chng.

Greenwich V can potentially serve more than 500,000 residents in Seletar and nearby Yio Chu Kang, Sengkang, Serangoon and Hougang.

Seletar residents, who were shown visuals of the mall yesterday, welcomed the new development.

'It's been a while since we had our own 'village' of sorts in Seletar. It will be nice to not have to travel so far out to shop and eat,' said Mrs Wendy Tham, a resident of 22 years.

But there were concerns about increased traffic when the mall opens.

'Yes, it is good to have a mall here, but I hope it will not be too popular, or else the traffic will be heavy and I will have trouble getting home,' said a resident from nearby Gerald Crescent.

Source: Straits Times, 18 Jun 2010

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