SINGAPORE: The iconic Red Dot Traffic Building at 28 Maxwell Road was renamed Maxwell Chambers Suites on Thursday (Jun 22).
The building was taken over by the Ministry of Law to expand the adjacent Maxwell Chambers, which houses the world's first integrated dispute resolution centre.
In plans first announced in January, the ministry said the redevelopment of the building would add 120,000 sq f to Maxwell Chambers. However, it announced at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday that a 3,500-sq-f annexe block would be added on top of original expansion plans to meet the strong demand for office space.
According to the Law Ministry, Maxwell Chambers Suites will house about 50 new offices for international dispute resolution institutions, arbitration chambers, law firms and ancillary legal services. Already, 65 per cent of the new office space at the building have been taken up, it said.
Restoration works of 28 Maxwell Road started in May this year and are projected to be complete in 2019.
By 2021, the building will be served by three Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations within a seven-minute walk from it: The existing Tanjong Pagar MRT station, as well as the upcoming Maxwell and Shenton Way stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line.
A new public thoroughfare that will be opened 24 hours will also be built through Maxwell Chambers Suites in order to provide pedestrians easier access between Tanjong Pagar MRT station and the Chinatown area, the ministry said.
EYEING REGIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah said on Thursday the expansion plans were a "testament to Singapore's strong growth as an international hub for dispute resolution".
"Our vision is for Maxwell Chambers to be a base in Asia for all major players, from which they can access and capture opportunities in the region," Ms Indranee said.
In particular, the Law Ministry has identified the area of investment arbitration as a new growth opportunity, it said. As of June this year, around 10 investment arbitration hearings were held or are going to be held in Singapore in 2017 - double the number in 2013, it said.
Ms Indranee said that these are "typically complex and high-stakes cases that provide good exposure for our legal talent, and raise our profile as a dispute resolution centre".