The illicit red-light activities in Geylang and the types of people it attracts could have been a factor in URA’s decision to propose rezoning Lorongs 4 to 22 from residential/institution to commercial/institution, said Chia Siew Chuin, Director of Research & Advisory at Colliers International.
Those areas also comprise a varied mix of uses including eating houses, small offices, boutique residential projects and budget hotels which are located in shophouses and low-rise buildings.
“While having so many different types of uses in that 700-metre stretch from Lorongs 4 to 22 might add to the human diversity and flavour of this unique locality, disharmonious conflict might occur among the different uses,” Chia noted.
For instance, with trading businesses and eating houses operating during the day, and coffee shops and bars open well beyond midnight, this might create disturbances for the residents there on a 24-hour basis.
Since 2010, around 400 new residential units have been launched in the area, with about 100 units already completed, revealed Colliers. This means some 300 new units will be ready in the coming years, adding more residents.
“In addition, some landlords who have maximised their properties by cramming as many tenants as possible into some of the various residences there might make the area a potential hotbed of conflict and possible disorder, if the residential population continues to increase,” explained Chia.
With the Lorongs rezoned for commercial use, Chia feels developers may choose to build spaces for budget offices catering to SMEs looking to operate on the fringe of the CBD.
“Should the development of such space gain traction in the future, it would not be unreasonable to expect that some of the existing notoriety will be replaced by mainstream businesses,” she said.
Image: Geylang Road. (Source: The Real Singapore)