Potential for residential area at Jurong Bird Park site: experts

As part of plans to makeover the Mandai area, the authorities are looking into relocating the Bird Park from Jurong to Mandai.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed this during the “Ask the Prime Minister” forum which aired on Channel NewsAsia on Thursday (Sep 4).

Some property experts say there is potential for the land vacated by the Bird Park to be redeveloped into a residential area, but that is only if the factories surrounding it have moved.

“Because the size of the current Jurong Bird Park relative to the size of the entire industrial park in Jurong is fairly small, it may not be worthwhile to have it redeveloped in the short term,” said Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director of research and consultancy at SLP International Consultants.

“After the Jurong Bird Park has been relocated, perhaps another way is to keep it as an open public park in the short term, while the government can wait for the lease of the surrounding factories to expire, before planning for a major re-zoning of that whole location.”

Mr Mak added that another short-term option could be a workers’ dormitory – to make more intense use of the site.

Others like property analyst Chris Koh of real estate agency Chris International say short-term leases could be granted to set up restaurants, for example. But in order for the area to be turned into a residential site, Mr Koh says there is a need to establish more infrastructure and amenities there.

Once these are in place, he believes there could be strong demand for residential homes, especially as the site sits at the foot of the scenic Jurong Hill Park. “If you were to build residential properties from the foot of the hill to the top, the real estate at the top of hill would be in demand and more costly. Also, waterways and hill parks – which provide good views – are becoming more popular with people,” he added.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 6 Sep 2014

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