During the 1970s and 1980s, the 360-hectare area of Marina Bay was reclaimed in anticipation of the need to grow the city centre in the future, embodying a successful example of Singapore’s long term planning.
Located at the southern tip of Singapore, Marina Bay extends into Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) and supports the country’s business and financial growth. It is planned as a vibrant, mixed-use district, based on sustainable development strategies which optimises access for residents, workers and visitors to public transport.
As an area surrounded by water and gardens, Marina Bay is also part of a tract of waterfront land spanning close to 1,000 hectares, referred to as the Greater Southern Waterfront. Ong Choon Fah, CEO of DTZ Research said, “This was identified in the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Masterplan 2014 as one of the new growth areas in the city which will seamlessly extend Singapore’s downtown district. Although still in the initial stages, these plans are envisaged to further anchor Marina Bay as a choice destination to work, live and play, integrating residential, commercial and recreational use.”
A new concept of city living
While Marina Bay is widely known as a financial district, the upcoming phases of development will include new mixed-use residential districts, designed as a green, walkable and cycle-friendly vicinity.
Ong added, “These residences will epitomise city living at its finest, featuring a new typology of residences that are fence-less, with commercial uses on the first-storey. This will offer a new living experience within the city and create lively and welcoming streets.”
For example, Marina One by M+S will add to the supply of premier residential, office and retail space to the area upon completion. Located at the heart of Marina Bay, one of Marina One’s most outstanding features is its inclusion of greenery; incorporating a unique garden ecosystem within the development. “It will bring to life a green living, working and retail experience reminiscent of prized real estate developments found in global cities like London’s Hyde Park and New York’s Central Park,” Ong said.
Slated to be ready in 2017, Marina One is connected to four MRT lines for easy accessibility.
Existing residential developments there include The Sail @ Marina Bay, Marina Bay Residences, and Marina Bay Suites. In terms of the pipeline supply of homes in Marina Bay up to 2017, Ong foresees there will not be other upcoming projects for some time. She added, “Although there is a white site in Marina View that is in the Reserved List of the GLS Programme, this has not been triggered despite being on the List for some time.”
Interestingly, the development parcels at Marina Bay will be based on an urban grid pattern, and extended from the existing city grid network. The official website for Marina Bay states, “This grid framework has been developed to allow for the flexible amalgamation or subdivision of land parcels into plots of different sizes, including larger land parcels to cater for buildings with large floor plates to offer maximum flexibility and efficiency for financial institutions.”
Sites in Marina Bay are zoned ‘white site’ to allow developers the flexibility in deciding the best use for each site, such housing, offices, shops, hotels, recreation facilities and community spaces; increasing the potential for mixed-use developments.
Many may not know this but Marina Bay’s signature skyline did not happen by chance. It is carefully orchestrated as part of urban planning to create a three-dimensional layered effect. For example, building heights along the waterfront are kept low to safeguard the view and create an aesthetically-pleasant skyline.
Buildings and places in Marina Bay represent the opportunities and activities the city has to offer. In fact, Marina Bay is Singapore’s first city to host water activities, and is the hub for many major events and celebrations.
Ong said, “The exciting lifestyle offerings in the Marina Bay area at the waterfront promenade, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and others will appeal to potential investors and buyers.”
Residents there can enjoy convenient access to shops, restaurants, transport nodes, cultural and heritage attractions, and recreational spaces. For instance, the Youth Olympic Park, was developed to foster a greater sense of community ownership and connection with Marina Bay. Opened in 2010 and known as Singapore ‘s first art park, it currently features art installations by local youths depicting life’s aspirations, and is lit up with coloured LED lights at night.
There are also plenty of public art sculptures and architecture to be discovered around Marina Bay, such as the tree-like sculpture by local artist Edwin Cheong at the waterfront promenade which captures wind and converts the energy into tiny lights.
Rising to meet the economy
As buildings in Marina Bay have to be high rise and high density for effective land use, the skyscrapers offer a wonderful view for companies and offices. According to the URA Masterplan 2014, sites at Marina Bay have been set aside to allow for 30 percent more office space within the next 15 years to support the growth of Singapore’s economy. In addition to state-of-the-art office space, transport infrastructure provides seamless connectivity for companies and professionals to grow.
Marina Bay is well served by a comprehensive transport network as new underground MRT stations with links to surrounding buildings, and new road extensions to the city provide instant access to the rest of the country. “Additional transport links through the full completion of the Downtown Line and the Thomson Line will further enhance connectivity and accessibility of area,” Ong says.
There are even water taxi services as an alternative mode of transport to get around.
As a thriving and energetic location where people live, work and play, Marina Bay is proving to be a place with a round-the-clock vibrancy that continues even after the long work day is done.
This article was first published in September 2014