Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Heart Of City Takes Shape

Source : The Straits Times, April 22, 2009

MORE than $22 billion of investments have been pumped into transforming Marina Bay and the vision of a prime waterfront location for living, working and playing is steadily taking shape.

'In one or two years' time, this bay will be alive with people, with activities, festivities and it's a testimony to the foresight of the people who started developing this area many, many years ago,' said National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan after touring key sites yesterday.

The immediate vicinity of Marina Bay will be ready 'for people to enjoy in a couple of years' time', he added.

The development of the entire Marina Bay area - Singapore's most ambitious urban transformation project - is expected to be completed in 10 to 15 years.

Yet the groundwork for the expansion of the existing Central Business District started back in the late 1960s. The new downtown comprises 360ha, which was reclaimed in phases from 1969 to 1992.

Plans started in earnest about 10 years ago when the area was first developed. The first site was put up for sale in 2004.

The transformation of Marina Bay into Singapore's new downtown is part of a bigger plan to remake the city and turn it into an exciting, liveable global city.

Mr Mah reiterated that the plans are going ahead in spite of the economic crisis. 'As a Government, we must be able to look farther ahead and we must be willing to invest,' he said.

While local and international investors have injected $16.5 billion into the bay area, the Government has invested $5.7 billion and will put in more than $1 billion in additional infrastructure. Key projects such as the Double Helix Bridge, Art Park and The Fullerton Heritage at Collyer Quay will be completed by year's end.

The Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort will be ready in phases from the end of this year, while the first phase of the Marina Bay Financial Centre will be finished by the middle of next year.

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