Ageing buildings in the CBD get a lifeline

The new URA Draft Master Plan 2019 offers incentive schemes to spur rejuvenation in the city and increase mixed-use components. However, there are challenges in the short term

Owners of ageing commercial and mixed-use developments in the CBD received a shot in the arm with the Draft Master Plan 2019 unveiled on March 27. This is because it came with two new schemes, namely the CBD Incentive Scheme and the Strategic Development Incentive Scheme.
Moray Armstrong, CBRE Singapore managing director, describes these schemes as the “SkillsFuture” scheme for the CBD. “The old stretches of Shenton Way and Cecil Street have greatly contributed to Singapore’s growth as the pioneer CBD,” he notes. “The emergence of the new economy and Downtown CBD has resulted in these sub-markets being less favoured and to some, even being functionally obsolete. The two schemes allow for the existing developments to extend their use beyond office operation hours.”
These schemes are “long-term plans deemed to provide a lifeline to ageing developments”, adds Armstrong. “The incentive of a higher plot ratio is to promote private sector-led urban regeneration in the middle to long term. However, any knee-jerk reaction will be curbed by the strict qualification rules behind each scheme as well as market sentiments.”
The Central area of Singapore where the URA Master Plan 2019 included the CBD Incentive Scheme and Strategic Development Scheme (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Higher plot ratios

Areas earmarked for rejuvenation under the new CBD Incentive Scheme are those in the Anson Road, Cecil Street, Robinson Road, Shenton Way and Tanjong Pagar areas.
To qualify for the CBD rejuvenation scheme, buildings have to be at least 20 years old from the last date of Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) and where the existing use is predominantly office. There’s also a minimum plot size of 1,000 sqm for some areas, and 2,000 sqm for others. For a site in the Anson Road and Cecil Street area to be redeveloped for hotel use, or mixeduse development with residential and commercial components, the uplift in gross plot ratio is 25%. For residential use with commercial space on the first level, the new development will enjoy an increase in plot ratio of up to 30%.
This CBD Incentive Scheme...