SINGAPORE: A rezoning exercise in the Tiong Bahru estate has sealed the commercial approval status for 28 ground floor properties - including Por Kee Eating House and Nimble Knead Massage - which had previously been classified as residential units.
These 28 units had been operating their businesses based on approvals given by agencies over the past decades, and the reclassification in their status as "Residential" to "Residential with Commercial at First Storey" under the Master Plan will serve to support the vibrant landscape in the estate, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Tuesday (Jul 24).
The 28 units are mostly located between Eng Hoon and Eng Watt streets and have over time become an integral part of the estate's fabric, URA added.
In addition to Por Kee Eating House and Nimble Knead Massage, the units also include Flock Cafe, Singapore Realtors, Cozy Wine, One Olive and Drips Bakery Cafe.
The rezoning exercise will take place over the next month and follows a study conducted over two years on the uses in the estate, which also took into account feedback from residents.
“The community shared that they were supportive of the estate’s vibrant character, and having a good mix of business to serve residential and visitors,” said the URA in a news release.
“At the same time, they emphasised the need to maintain residential amenity, so that residents can continue to have a good living environment.”
The Tiong Bahru neighbourhood was developed in the 1930s as Singapore’s first housing estate. In recent times, rapid gentrification in the neighbourhood has seen a increased demand for commercial space in the estate.
According to the URA, common complaints from residents included noise created by businesses, indiscriminate littering and safety concerns.
The URA also said that there are about 15 ground floor businesses in the estate that have been operating without approval at premises meant only for residential use.
The URA has posted letters to these business operators, with officers also going on the ground to speak to some of them to address these infringements. They intend to reach out to the remaining operators in due time.
There are currently about 120 authorised businesses located on the first storey of residential buildings, mostly within Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats.
More than half of these have already been land zoned as “Residential with Commercial at First Storey”.