SINGAPORE: Golden Mile Complex will be proposed for conservation in view of its "historical and architectural significance", said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Friday (Oct 9).
URA will also offer planning incentives to support the adaptive reuse and commercial viability of the building given its owners' interest in a collective sale.
The authority proposed to conserve the main building, with its "signature terraced profile atop of the podium block" as key features to be retained.
"There are opportunities to adapt the building for new uses, restore and transform it and the Beach Road precinct into a more vibrant destination where more people can appreciate its rich heritage," said URA.
The building was designed by Singapore's pioneer architects, Gan Eng Oon, William Lim and Tay Kheng Soon, from home-grown firm Design Partnership, now DP Architects.
It was one of the first large mixed-use developments in Singapore that combined commercial, recreation and residential uses in a single building, said URA.
The authority also praised the building's structural ambition and the skilled construction methods needed to build its "'terraced' floor slabs, slanted beams, towering columns and 'floating' staggered staircases".
"Golden Mile Complex attracted a live-in population and visitors for recreation, as well as catalysed new developments along the Beach Road area.
"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," said URA.
CONSERVATION DECISION CAME AFTER "EXTENSIVE" TWO-YEAR STUDY
The decision to conserve Golden Mile Complex came after an extensive two-year study that included engaging diverse groups of stakeholders and working with various agencies, said the authority.
In recognition of its conservation merits and the building owners' interest in a collective sale, URA said it studied ways to conserve the building while supporting adaptive reuse and commercial viability, while also considering the feedback received.
Besides the Heritage and Identity Partnership, input was also sought from building owners, heritage groups and industry players.
The Heritage and Identity Partnership serves as a platform for dialogue between URA and its members. It also provides feedback and suggests ways to sustain and manage built heritage and identity.
While there is strong support for Golden Mile Complex's heritage and architectural merits, building owners raised concerns over how conservation requirements could impact plans for a collective sale, given the associated building maintenance costs and design constrains, said URA.
Developers also cited uncertainties surrounding the local property market's reception to purchasing a large-scale strata-titled conserved development - the first sale of its kind in Singapore.
INCENTIVES FOR OWNERS AND PROSPECTIVE DEVELOPERS
In response to these challenges, URA and relevant agencies are prepared to offer incentives to the building owners or prospective buyer-developers should the building be sold, the authority said.
Incentives include bonus floor area, which will allow the building of an additional 30-storey tower within the existing site.
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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.
Other incentives include the option to top up the lease on the land to 99 years and the flexibility to adapt the building to a mix of possible uses.
"In addition, URA is prepared to work closely with owners and industry experts to facilitate adaptive reuse possibilities within the requirements of conservation," it said.
Overall, more than 7,200 heritage buildings have been conserved islandwide, mostly dating from the colonial period, said URA.
It added that as Singapore continues to progress, it will continue to engage Singaporeans on how to celebrate significant buildings from the country's "recent past" and facilitate a balance between heritage and development.
The proposal to conserve Golden Mile Complex will be published on Saturday, and will be open to public feedback and comments from Oct 10 to Nov 8, 2020 at the URA Centre.
The proposal can also be viewed online at the URA website.