URA proposes to conserve Golden Mile Complex

12 Oct 2020

Golden Mile Complex + Tower CROP

URA proposes to conserve the main building with its signature terraced profile atop the podium block as key features to be retained. 

URA proposes “to conserve the main building with its signature terraced profile atop the podium block as key features to be retained”.

The iconic Golden Mile Complex will be proposed for conservation in view of its architectural and historical significance, announced the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on 9 October. 

Specifically, URA proposes “to conserve the main building with its signature terraced profile atop the podium block as key features to be retained”, and there are “opportunities to restore and adapt the building for new uses, transform it and the Beach Road precinct into a more vibrant destination where more people can appreciate its rich heritage.”

URA also unveiled a set of planning incentives to support the building’s adaptive reuse and commercial viability considering the owners’ interest in a collective sale.

Completed in 1973, Golden Mile Complex sits on one of the of the earliest Government Land Sale Sites and was one of Singapore’s first large mixed-use developments featuring commercial, residential and recreational uses in a single building.

The 16-storey building was designed by the city-state’s pioneer architects William Lim Tay Kheng Soon and Gan Eng Oon from the home-grown firm Design Partnership, now known as DP Architects.

URA noted that the building was structurally ambitious with its slanted beams, “terraced” floor slabs, “floating” staggered staircases and towering columns requiring skilled construction methods. 

“Golden Mile Complex attracted a live-in population and visitors for recreation, as well as catalysed new developments along the Beach Road area,” it said.

“The building continues to be a distinctive landmark and symbol of Singaporeans’ collective memories and the “can-do spirit” of our pioneer generation during the post-independence years.”

URA revealed that the decision to conserve the building comes after a two-year study that involved engaging diverse groups of stakeholders as well as working with various agencies. 

In recognition of the building’s conservation merits as well as the owners’ interest in an en bloc sale, URA said it studied ways “to conserve the building while supporting adaptive reuse and commercial viability, while considering the feedback received”. 

Aside from the Heritage and Identity Partnership, input was also sought from heritage groups, building owners and industry players.

The Heritage and Identity Partnership – which serves as a platform for dialogue between URA and its members – provide “feedback and suggest possible ways to sustain and manage built heritage and identity”. 

URA shared that while there is strong support for Golden Mile Complex’s historical and architectural merits, building owners raised concerns on how conservation requirements could affect plans for an en bloc sale, given the design constraints and associated building maintenance costs.

“Developers also cited uncertainties surrounding the local property market’s reception to purchasing a large-scale strata-titled conserved development – which would be the first sale of its kind in Singapore.”

With this, URA is offering incentives to building owners or prospective buyer-developers in the event the conserved building be sold.

Recommended article: It’s official: Conservation has positive impact on property value in Singapore

These include bonus floor area that will allow the building of an additional 30-storey tower within the existing site.

There will also be a partial development charge waiver on the additional floor area and a development charge waiver for the enhancement in value of the conserved gross floor area.

There is also an option to top up the site’s lease to 99 years, adjust the site to be more regular and the flexibility to adapt the building to a mix of possible uses.

URA added that it is also prepared to work closely with industry experts and owners to facilitate adaptive reuse possibilities within the requirements of conservation. 

“Overall, more than 7,200 heritage buildings have been conserved island-wide, mostly dating from the colonial period,” it said. 

“As Singapore continues to progress, URA will continue to engage Singaporeans on how to celebrate significant buildings from our more recent past and facilitate a balance between heritage and development.”

The proposal for Golden Mile Complex’s conservation is open for public feedback and comments until 8 November at the URA Centre.

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