URA issues guidelines for shop sizes in new developments

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has come out with a set of guidelines for shoebox shops in all new developments with retail floor area. A minimum average retail unit size and minimum corridor widths are required.

In a blog post, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the guidelines were done in consultation with industry players and said that the guidelines take a fair, balanced approach.

They give developers and architects the flexibility to propose a suitable mix of larger and smaller shops for their developments.

At the same time, they benefit shoppers and retailers, ensuring that all new developments have a good mix of shops and incorporate the latest Universal Design principles to accommodate all shoppers — including families with strollers and wheelchair users.

Mr Khaw said there is concern that developers want to build mainly shoebox shops, some that are smaller than a car park lot.

Recently, a number of developers who have pushed for shoebox apartments and factories have turned their attention to push for shoebox shops.

The URA has received applications from them proposing to build malls featuring mainly shoebox shops, with sizes as small as nine square metres. At nine sqm, the shop will be even smaller than a car park lot.

Mr Khaw said in many cases, the number of proposed shops in their proposed redevelopments will end up more than 10 times the number of shops in the original malls.

He said small shops have a place in Singapore’s retail landscape as these support entrepreneurs and cater to certain trades, such as stationery shops, florists and moneychangers.

But when these are the predominant shop type in a shopping mall, URA has to be concerned about the viability of these shops and the shopping experience of the customers.

He said industry stakeholders, including the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore and the Singapore Institute of Architects, shared the URA’s concerns as well.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 26 Mar 2013

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