SINGAPORE: The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said it could consider reviewing tenant restrictions for an empty mall in Changi if there are "changes to the circumstances" of the surrounding area.
It was reported that the freehold, three-storey commercial building has been put up for sale after the developer struggled to attract tenants because of planning restrictions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Liv@Changi mall along Upper Changi Road North was granted a Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in December 2019. URA had in February 2020 rejected a request by the developer to turn some of the shop units on the first and second floor into restaurants.
"We are prepared to consider reviewing the planning conditions for the site if there are changes to the circumstances for the area," URA said on Wednesday (Apr 14) in response to queries from CNA.
It did not elaborate on what these changes are.
In rejecting the developer's request to turn some units into cafes and restaurants, URA previously said that this was to "safeguard the amenities of the surrounding residents".
The agency later told CNA that the mall was not allowed to have restaurants due to residents' feedback about traffic and parking problems.
However, a resident who lives next to the mall recently told CNA that she hopes URA would stop limiting the kind of tenants that could be brought in, pointing out that the mall now sits in a "thriving residential zone".
READ: Hit by circuit breaker and tenant restrictions, new mall in Changi still empty 9 months after it was built
URA reiterated on Wednesday that it had assessed the availability of amenities in the area and ground conditions such as traffic and parking before deciding on the uses and additional conditions for the site.
"While retail facilities such as a supermarket are allowed, the developer was informed in 2015 that restaurants, bars, health centres or nightclubs cannot be allowed in the development," a URA spokesperson said.
"This was to protect the residential character of the area, and took into account local grassroots’ feedback that F&B uses within this small-scale development would exacerbate the traffic and parking problems in the neighbourhood."
URA said it reiterated the same requirement in February 2020 and April 2021 when the developer requested to turn shop units into restaurants, following "fresh assessments" on the amenities available in the area and checks with local stakeholders.
READ: Empty mall in Changi not allowed to have restaurants due to residents' traffic, parking feedback: URA
In general, URA said the allowable uses for a site are determined by several factors, including the land use zoning and development control guidelines for the site, the amenities in the area, and the potential impact on the surrounding area and community.
"Additional conditions may thus be imposed to mitigate the impact of the proposed uses," the spokesperson added.
"Feedback from nearby stakeholders such as residents, schools and businesses, as well as grassroots organisations, may be taken into account in the assessment."
The building is now on sale for S$38 million, according to real estate services company CBRE in an announcement on Mar 16.