Jurong Lake area: Big changes planned

Lim Wei Chean & Natalie Soh, Straits Times 20 Feb 08;

URA in talks with stakeholders about plans for tourism, retail and entertainment centre

A WAVE of changes has been planned for Jurong Lake.

Government officials and industry captains have met and discussed the area's potential as a commercial, retail and entertainment centre.

Preliminary discussions centred on developing office space, a commercial centre with retail shops, four to five hotels and a resort or theme park for Singaporeans and tourists alike - all clustered around the Chinese and Japanese gardens on the shores of Jurong Lake.

The site will also take in the 12ha area occupied by the now-defunct Tang Dynasty City theme park. Built at a cost of $100 million in 1991, it was forced to shut down in 1999 when it failed to pull in enough visitors.

When news broke last year that Tang Dynasty City was to be demolished, landlord Jurong Town Council and the Singapore Tourism Board said then that they were 'evaluating the area for redevelopment' into an attraction.

Multiple sources confirmed - on condition of anonymity - that a feedback session with more than 100 stakeholders was held last month on developing the area. At the session, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) shared its proposed plans and sought reactions to it.

One source said: 'The plan is to try and do something similar to what was done in Tampines - to have a commercial centre, but also to add leisure elements.'

Another source said Jurong Lake was at the heart of the proposed development, and the viability of a water theme park was discussed.

The Singapore Science Centre, in Jurong Town Hall Road since 1977, will also be moving, but it is unclear when this will happen or where it will move to.

Also unclear is the fate of Snow City. The Straits Times understands that Singapore's first permanent indoor snow centre has a three-year lease and recently started turning in profits.

URA declined comment, but industry players who have heard about it are excited. A lakeside site, served by the East-West MRT line and near industrial parks and residential areas, is suitable for a mixed development, some said.