Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran has spoken of plans to remake Orchard Road.
During the annual Tourism Industry Conference, Mr Iswaran said that the Government is determined to keep the evolution in the tourism sector. One of the ways to maintain that is by rejuvenating the tourism hardware and enhancing the software.
He said that Orchard Road, a premier shopping precinct, is well-known to both locals and tourists. However, as consumer preferences change and retail trends evolve, Orchard Road must sustain its appeal.
The minister then stated that URA, LTA and private sector partners, STB and MTI are looking at ways to remake Orchard Road to transform the precinct into a distinctive and vibrant shopping and lifestyle destination that offers a signature street experience within a city garden.
“In the near term, we will explore ways to refresh the Orchard Road streetscape, to make it more pedestrian-friendly and conducive for street-level activities,” he said.
For instance, he said that the government will activate existing parcels of State land and consider introducing a progressive road reduction programme to expand the pedestrian mall.
“For the longer term, we can explore the possibility of a fully pedestrianised Orchard Road to serve as a multi-purpose space where diverse and large-scale experiential concepts can be introduced. Our government agencies will work closely with the stakeholders to further develop the ideas and assess the costs and benefits,” he said.
The minister also said that the government wants new and unique offerings along Orchard Road, such as the KEEPERS Singapore Design Collective pop-up at Orchard Road which was well-received.
“To build on its success, STB, SPRING and JTC will launch a Design Incubator at Orchard Green by end 2018,” he noted.
Mr Iswaran also said that the Design Incubator will house a retail showcase and incubation space for local design talents located at the heart of the precinct.
WOHA, a local architectural firm and recipient of the President’s Design Award, will design the building, while Naiise Pte Ltd, one of the home-grown retailers and a strong advocate of local design, will manage the retail showcase.
“This will be an exciting addition to the Orchard Road precinct in a prominent location that will allow visitors to discover and purchase locally designed products that we are proud of,” he noted.
The minister then added that the private sector has a key role in this effort to remake Orchard Road, by refreshing the experiences within malls and identifying opportunities for transformative redevelopment.
He then stressed that the government will continue to work closely with private sector stakeholders to make Orchard Road a distinctive retail and lifestyle destination, for locals and tourists alike.
The effort by the government might prove to be good for retailers located in Orchard Road.
In a 2016 report, malls across Singapore, including many around Orchard faced a business dull as sales dropped and there were a lack of tenants.