Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Phoenix emerging on Orchard Road

Plans for former Specialists' Shopping Centre and Hotel Phoenix site include 500 hotel rooms, 224,000 sq ft of retail space

A NEW shopping and hotel destination is set to take the Orchard shopping belt by storm in 2013. On offer are 500 hotel rooms and about 224,000 sq ft of retail space, as well as two open plazas for busking and artist performances.

This is the plan unveiled by United Engineers Ltd during the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday for the site that previously housed the Specialists' Shopping Centre and Hotel Phoenix complex - which has a gross floor area (GFA) of 538,196 sq ft. The development is designed by internationally-renowned architectural firm Tange Associates.

The property group was appointed by OCBC to build the shopping cum hotel destination in June through an arrangement that allows OCBC to retain ownership of the prime Orchard Road property after the redevelopment is complete.

Directly opposite this refurbished shopping and lifestyle destination is the 218 Orchard Road site (previously the home of Orchard Emerald). Like its sister sitting on the other side of the road, the site, which occupies a GFA of 104,410 sq ft, will be developed into an 11-storey building with two basement floors. About 37,674 sq ft of space will be devoted to offices, while 29,063 sq ft will be retail space. The site will be developed by OCBC's insurance subsidiary Great Eastern Life, and UEL will act as project manager.

To provide a seamless way for pedestrians to make their way to and from the two destinations and to the Somerset train station, a glass pedestrian bridge linking the development to the property sitting opposite - formerly Orchard Emerald - is also in the works by UEL. It will also be constructing an underpass that will help to link the hotel cum retail property to the Orchard Emerald site. The redevelopment of the Specialists' Shopping Centre site, along with the construction of the glass bridge and underpass, is slated for completion in the second quarter of 2013.

OCBC said that the total development costs for both properties is about $700 million, with about $150 million to be spent on the old Orchard Emerald site.

Said Jackson Yap, group managing director and chief executive of UEL on the former Specialists' Centre development: 'Its unique architecture that straddles both sides of Orchard Road, and with the glass overhead bridge, will offer a new postcard view of Orchard Road.

'With the glass overhead bridge, the Orchard Road Christmas Light-up will also have new decorative possibilities. We strive to create a new focal point in Orchard Road that will be buzzing with activity and excitement.'

Source: Business Times, 17 Jul 2010

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