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The City Hall, a historic building in Singapore. Currently it is the National Gallery from Shutterstock.com

Nine new precincts participate in pilot Business Improvement District (BID) programme

Nine new precincts will be participating in the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) pilot Business Improvement District (BID) programme to drive place management of their precincts.

Announced at the annual Place Management Seminar organised by the URA, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong stated that with more active participation by stakeholders, the public can look forward to more vibrant districts and attractive public spaces, with activities and programming they can participate in.

The minister said that under the pilot BID programme, stakeholders will take on a more active role in transforming their precincts and activating the surrounding public spaces. They will be supported by the government in their efforts to enliven the precincts and improve visitor experience, thereby enhancing attractiveness and distinctiveness of our city.

In September 2017, URA said that it invited stakeholders to form pilot BIDs by submitting their proposals to bring vibrancy to the precinct over four years. Interested stakeholders were asked to submit a preliminary business plan, outlining proposed initiatives as well as proposed membership fees to be collected from stakeholders to fund the proposals.

"A total of nine submissions were received, and all have been selected to participate in the pilot BID programme," it noted.

These nine precincts are China Place, City Hall, Jurong Gateway, Kampong Glam, Marina Bay, Marina Centre, Paya Lebar, Raffles Place and Tanjong Pagar. They represent a good mix of precincts of different characteristics, from historic and civic districts to mixed-use precincts within and outside the city centre.

The proposals submitted have leveraged the distinctive characteristics of the various precincts in coming up with a variety of initiatives and programming.

The authority stated that precincts selected to participate in the pilot BID programme are required to develop detailed business plans and get at least 51 per cent support from stakeholders within the defined boundary in their respective precincts to go on to form pilot BIDs. T

The government will provide dollar-for-dollar matching for the membership fees collected by each pilot BID up to a cap of $500,000 per year, for the first four years of the pilot BID programme.

URA said that the funding will help the pilot BIDs kick-start the initial phase of their place management efforts and set the foundation for them to expand their plans over time, noting that it will also work closely with the stakeholders in developing business plans for the precincts.

Singapore River One (SRO) was the first pilot BID to form in 2017. Over the past year, the area has observed greater participation from stakeholders in place management and higher footfall to the area. The pilot BID’s two key festivals, St Patrick’s Day Street Festival and Singapore River Festival also attracted more visitors through more coordinated marketing and promotion.

Executive Director of SRO, Michelle Koh said, “Joining the pilot BID programme has given us more certainty in our resource planning. We are now able to plan activities for the longer term, explore infrastructure improvements and implement robust marketing campaigns to draw visitors to the precinct. We also have a stronger foundation to approach corporations to collaborate with us on activities and programming in the precinct.”