The recent maritime dispute between Singapore and Malaysia has put a spotlight on Singapore's land reclamation at Tuas.
Last Thu (6 Dec), Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan dismissed Malaysia’s argument that Singapore cannot claim the disputed waters on the basis of its reclamation works in Tuas in recent years. Reclamation at Tuas has nothing to do with maritime boundary dispute, Minister Khaw said.
Land is currently being reclaimed at Tuas to house a new port. Back in 2013 at the National Day Rally, PM Lee told Singaporeans that the port at the present Tanjong Pagar area would be moved to Tuas.
PM Lee said, "We are building a new port in Tuas, bigger, more efficient, almost double the present capacity."
"And when this is done, we can move from Tanjong Pagar to Tuas. Starting 2027 when the ports’ leases expire and when they move to Tuas, you will free up the prime land in Tanjong Pagar. And there we can build a Southern Waterfront City," he added.
"It is a huge area. It 1,000 ha, or 2.5 times the size of Marina Bay, all the way from Shenton Way to Pasir Panjang, from the east all the way to the west." He told Singaporeans that the government is "creating possibilities for the future".
Exciting plans for Greater Southern Waterfront
Indeed, 2 months ago (Oct 2018), Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat shared with the public more details on the redevelopment of Tanjong Pagar area, dubbed Greater Southern Waterfront, after the current port has been moved to Tuas.
There are plans, for instance, to reshape the entire Sentosa Island to provide scope for more leisure amenities and investments, including more hotels and other facilities for conventions and exhibitions. The Greater Southern Waterfront will also have many housing, commercial and entertainment facilities.
Minister Chee revealed that government agencies are busily drawing up development plans for Pulau Brani and the Greater Southern Waterfront, and "this expanded canvas, which is as large as Sentosa Island itself, will provide exciting opportunities for us to develop new tourism attractions and anchor this precinct as the Southern Gateway of Asia".
He said an overall view has been taken on how the whole area can be developed for tourism as well as commercial and residential purposes. Sentosa will be integrated with the redevelopments at Tanjong Pagar. "One area which I am personally very keen to explore and push ahead is how we can encourage more activities at night on Sentosa," he said.
Property consultant Colliers International even called Greater Southern Waterfront the "CBD 3.0" of Singapore.
Said Colliers International, "It will probably see a larger number of white sites, a land zoning that gives developers more flexibility in assessing the development options for specific land parcels."
"Developers have a free hand in deciding the mix of uses – including hotel, office, residential, retail, entertainment and serviced apartments – and the quantum of floor space allocated for each use on the site, within the total permissible gross floor area for the entire development," it added.
"The plans for Greater Southern Waterfront, along with the opening of Prince Edward MRT station on the Circle Line in 2025, present a unique chance for owners of nearby buildings to re-evaluate the development potential of their properties."
"Some owners could seize the opportunity to divest the property, selling into a market that is on the cusp of recovery amid brighter economic prospects," Colliers International shared.
And according to another property analyst, PropertyInvestSG, any residential units developed at the Greater Southern Waterfront will be seen as "very prime residential units". It added that the Greater Southern Waterfront project heralds "a very exciting time of Singapore's development."
Certainly, the Greater Southern Waterfront project at Tanjong Pagar area must have sounded very exciting to the average Joe in Singapore. The question is, can he afford to buy a residential unit at the Greater Southern Waterfront?