This dynamic integrated tourism development is widely expected to transform Jurong Lake District, complementing its existing nearby attractions such as the Jurong Lake Gardens and the new Science Centre and well-integrated through a network of pedestrian-friendly streets and well-designed public spaces with the entire Jurong Lake District.
The successful developer who wins the tender for this mega integrated tourism development project in Jurong Lake District will have the entire site leased to them for 60 years and the whole project must be completed within five years of the date that the proposal is accepted, estimated to be by around 2028. Bidders are also to provide comprehensive plans for content refresh over the course of the lease.
STB's tender documents to developers in March 2022 required the attractions in the development to be innovative and first of its kind in South-east Asia and / or globally, preferably with a strong focus on science, media and technology. The attractions should not compete with the adjacent Science Centre and the development should appeal to a broad range of age groups such as families with young children and active senior citizens, and said that the hotel should differentiate itself from existing hotel developments in Singapore.
There is also an additional requirement by STB that the development should attract at least one million domestic and foreign visitors a year
The plot set aside for the tourism development is located at the intersection of Boon Lay Way and Jurong Town Hall Road, next to Chinese Garden MRT station and the future Science Centre, which will move from its current premises about 1km away to reopen around 2027. STB’s marketing materials said that the target opening date for the new tourism development is mid-2028.
The March tender for the integrated tourism development in Jurong Lake District closed on the 18 Oct 2022 with no proposal received from developers. Stakeholders had reflected to STB that they were unable to submit a proposal due to geopolitical and uncertain economic environment. Developers were also concerned about rising interest rates, financial market volatility and a rise in construction costs due to supply chain constraints and tight labor shortage experienced across Asia.
The development site is close to 7 ha - equivalent in size to about 10 football fields and located next to Chinese Garden MRT station sharing a expansive 300 meter long beautiful frontage view of the beautiful Jurong Lake.
Real estate professional Kiwi Lim is not surprised by the lack of interest from developers in this project tender to develop an integrated tourism project in Jurong Lake District. Some analysts had earlier expected deep pocketed mega developers like Capitaland, CDL or Guocoland to place a bid, especially when Guocoland has plenty of experience transforming districts, e.g. with their impressive Tanjong Pagar Guoco Tower and their exciting mega project in Bugis district - Guoco Midtown.
"I believe the tender requirements by STB for the integrated tourism development in Jurong Lake District may be a bit too challenging even for mega developers to consider because most developers in Singapore has no experience in developing a huge world class theme park kind of attraction amidst a new business district outside the CBD. Developers may also find it difficult to attract experienced foreign partners without the powerful appeal of a casino licence. Most local developers are more comfortable building mixed developments or integrated projects with retail - commercial - hotel - service apartment - residential mix. But this is of a different league" said Kiwi Lim who has been observing ongoing infrastructure developments in Singapore.
"Moreover, the lease is only for 60 years and there is no option for developers to build and sell private residential apartments which will help in their cash flow."
In 2019, STB had announced plans for the development of a 6.8ha site next to Jurong Lake to become a lifestyle and tourism hub in the 410ha Jurong Lake District - Singapore's largest business district outside the Central Business District. Jurong Lake District will be the focus of development over the next two decades, with the Government set to prioritise the sale of sites within the district.
On 2 Dec 2022, the government announced that the new Science Centre is set to open in the Jurong Lake District in 2027, aiming to be a one-stop destination for the public to access science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and experiences. Visitors can also enjoy facilities such as a new observatory to learn about astronomy and a digital fabrication lab that will support incubator programmes.
The design of the upcoming Science Centre includes five interconnected rectangular volumes defined by large "monocle" windows that offer views of neighboring Jurong Lake Gardens. Features include a network of discovery trails and an enhanced Children’s Gallery that offers twice as much room as the space provided in its predecessor. This amazing project is designed by the famous Zaha Hadid Architects
Jurong Lake District is an untested ground for large-scale tourism attractions, it has potential to be yet another tourist hub outside of the city centre, like Sentosa or Mandai, due to its accessibility, proximity to complementary attractions and an existing population that will fuel local demand for these attractions.
When fully developed, the Jurong Lake District will provide more than 100,000 new jobs and 20,000 new homes, served by four major rail lines by the early 2030s – the North-South, East-West, Jurong Region and Cross-Island lines.