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Sin$ 40 Million Rejuvenation for Singapore's Orchard Road

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Latest Travel News Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Singapore's world-famous Orchard Road is set to undergo a Sin$40 million rejuvenation that will result in a more attractive destination for locals and visitors to this vibrant city. With the planned landscape and infrastructural enhancements, Singapores premier shopping street will have state of the art lighting highlighting its lush tree-lined boulevard, new creative spaces for staging events and a more integrated and engaging pedestrian mall.

The Orchard Road rejuvenation plans were unveiled Monday ahead of a tender for the main mall enhancement construction works, which will be called in early November 2007. The announcement follows the sale of three prime sites by the Urban Redevelopment Authority last year, targeted to increase the number of shopping venues and diversity of retail concepts and options to Orchard Road. Apart from the development of ION Orchard, Somerset Central and Orchard Central, older venues such as Hotel Phoenix and Specialists Shopping Centre are slated for redevelopment. New international brands like Frank Muller, Jimmy Choo, Richard Mille and Van Cleef & Arpels as well as new initiatives such as the weekly Late Night Shopping have injected new vibrancy to the retail scene.

Consistently ranked the most-visited attraction in Singapore, Orchard Road attracts more than seven million visitors each year, while thousands of local residents visit the area for leisure and work each day.

Orchard Road is synonymous with shopping in Singapore, and is the venue for some of Singapores signature annual leisure events such as the Great Singapore Sale, Singapore Fashion Festival, Christmas in the Tropics light-up and Chingay Parade of Dreams, said Ms Margaret Teo, Assistant Chief Executive (Leisure), at the Singapore Tourism Board. For Orchard Road to become an even more compelling lifestyle hub, we need to invest in both its infrastructure and services. Besides introducing new concept malls and exciting international brands to boost the retail offerings available, we need to improve the public infrastructure to enhance the pedestrian experience along Orchard Road. These infrastructural improvements will also open up many more entertainment and outdoor spaces for events and activities to create a more vibrant streetscape, thus enhancing the lifestyle experience on Orchard Road.

The Orchard Road mall enhancement initiative was driven by a inter-agency taskforce comprising agencies such as Land Transport Authority (LTA) , National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). The Task Force worked closely with the design consultant team, Cox Group (Australia) in partnership with Architects 61 (Singapore), to develop and fine-tune the design plans. A Design Advisory Panel (DAP), chaired by the Urban Redevelopment Authority was also appointed to evaluate the concept design and guide the design development. The views of the Orchard Road Business Association and various stakeholders of Orchard Road were also sought before finalising the concept plan.

Starting at the Tanglin Road/Grange Road intersection where Tanglin Mall is located, the infrastructural works will continue down Orchard Road to the intersection with Buyong Road, where Le Meridien Singapore is located. Three zones, namely the Tanglin, Orchard and Somerset zones, have been identified and will be characterised by Flower, Forest and Fruit themes respectively.

All three zones will have enhanced road and pedestrian mall lighting, including state-of-the-art accent lighting to highlight Orchard Roads mature trees and foliage and to create strong night-time landscapes. In line with the minimal and sophisticated aesthetics of Orchard Roads enhancement design, new coordinated street furniture (granite benches, stainless steel-clad waste bins and bollards) and multi-functional lamp posts with a more extensive height and reach will be installed.

Three Zones, Three Themes

The Tanglin Zone, stretching from the intersection of Tanglin Road and Grange Road to the junction of Scotts and Paterson roads, will feature a flower theme mainly through 21 flower totem planters located along the pedestrian mall on the southern side of the road from Forum The Shopping Mall to Liat Towers. A typical flower totem planter measures 3.5 metres tall and 0.9 metres in diameter, and its blooms can be changed to reflect different seasons and festival celebrations. Working in collaboration with the National Parks Board, the designers will enhance Tanglin gateways existing tropical landscape with Frangipani trees that feature crimson flowers. The pedestrian mall on the north side of Tanglin fronting Delfi Orchard to International Building will also be enhanced with new paving, street furniture and lighting.

The Orchard Zone, stretching from the junction of Scotts and Paterson roads to the Cairnhill Road/Orchard Road junction, will feature a forest theme, inspired by the signature Angsana trees that frame Orchard Road.

Providing pockets of respite along this zone are Urban Green Rooms, which are located between existing trees and bordered in parts by moveable planters. These rooms can be used as shady resting places, art and exhibition areas, mini-performance areas and seating or viewing areas when events are staged along Orchard Road. Stretches of the pedestrian mall fronting ION Orchard, Wisma Atria and Meritus Mandarin Hotel will be widened to facilitate the creation of these Urban Green Rooms.

Vertical glass panels that are 3.6m high and 1.5m to 1.8m wide will further enhance the new Urban Green Rooms. These laminated, heat-strengthened glass panels will feature botanic graphics in line with the forest theme, and will be lit at night. Together with the surrounding tree lighting, these elements will create a strong night-time vista along Orchard Road.

The Somerset Zone, bound by the intersections between Cairnhill Road and Buyong Road, will feature a fruit theme to reflect Orchard Roads history as a nutmeg and fruit plantation. Besides the cinnamon and nutmeg trees that will be planted on the grass bank between Oxley Road and Buyong Road, opposite the Le Meridien Singapore, flowering plants with orange, yellow and red blooms will also characterise the zone. The north side of this zone will be enhanced with new granite pavement and street furniture.

Mrs Sng Ngoi May, Chairman of the Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA), welcomed this new phase in Orchard Roads rejuvenation plan. She said, The governments support would be instrumental in strengthening Orchard Roads positioning as one of the worlds premier shopping streets in the years to come. We hope this phase of development would only be the first step to ensure Orchard Road remains a beautiful, vibrant and pedestrian-friendly world-class shopping street.

Orchard Roads infrastructure works will be carried out in phases to minimise disruption to businesses and the public, while access points to buildings will be maintained at all times. Preliminary works to divert underground cables and telecommunication lines commenced in September 2007 whilst work on the pedestrian malls will begin after Chinese New Year next year in order to accommodate the crowds during the bumper Christmas and Chinese New Year festive shopping periods. Works are expected to be completed by April 2009.

See other recent news regarding: Airlines, Aviation, Hotels, Orchard Road, Singapore

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