Expansions on the horizon

Singapore is on the cusp of massive hardware change with a slate of developments that promises to bring a multitude of new event venues and possibilities.

An artist’s impression of the promenade along RWS’s future waterfront lIfesytle complex

Large-scale transformations across Singapore are set to boost the business events capacity and appeal of the island. The bulk of the announcements came in April, when Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and Marina Bay Sands (MBS) proclaimed a total investment of S$9 billion (US$6.5 billion) in expansion plans, with each pumping in S$4.5 billion.

These investments will be channelled into non-gaming facilities, and mark about two-thirds of the integrated resorts’ (IR) initial S$15 billion investment in 2006.

An artist’s impression of the promenade along RWS’s future waterfront lIfesytle complex

Under its expansion scheme coined “RWS 2.0”, RWS will increase its gross floor area by about 50 per cent. The additional 164,000m2 will be largely achieved through intensification of existing land, and will include a waterfront lifestyle complex headlined by two new destination hotels.

Coupled with the expansion of the Central Zone, up to 1,100 more guestrooms will come online and there will be a “significant expansion” of RWS’s business events capacity with which to “garner more top-tier events”, announced RWS.

RWS 2.0 will also feature a raft of new entertainment and lifestyle launches. By end-2020, a pirate-themed “adventure dining playhouse” will replace the Resorts World Theatre.

Coming down the line are a public seafront attraction with free evening light shows, two new areas for Universal Studios Singapore, and the redevelopment of the S.E.A. Aquarium by three times its current size into the Singapore Oceanarium.

RWS’s expansion will be delivered in phases, with new experiences opening every year from 2020. Completion is projected for 2025.

Tan Hee Teck, RWS CEO, said: “RWS will form an integral part of the future Greater Southern Waterfront and become a centrepiece of the transformative journey to enliven the southern corridor.”

On the main island, MBS has plans to build a fourth tower designed by the property’s original architect, Moshe Safdie. This new tower – which will rise on roughly eight acres of land – will include a 15,000-seat entertainment arena, a luxury hotel with some 1,000 keys and additional events spaces that will grow MBS’ business events capacity by about 30 to 40 per cent. MBS has not shared a timeline for completion.

Shortly after this announcement, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for trade and industry and education, Chee Hong Tat, unveiled plans to develop the Jurong Lake District (JLD) in western Singapore into an integrated tourism development with attractions, hotels, retail and F&B offerings. Confirmed developments include an overhaul of the Science Centre Singapore by mid-2020, as well as the introduction of Singapore’s third national garden, measuring 20ha.

The ministry has launched an Expression of Interest which will remain open until November this year.

Keith Tan, chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board, said depending on developer interest, JLD could open up opportunities for business events, such as purpose-built spaces like a convention centre.

He added that with the “greater push towards bleisure”, this development may encourage visitors to extend their stay in Singapore by one to two nights as well as “create an ecosystem of seeing tools trialled and tested live, making for a more compelling destination”.

Other broader tourism push for Singapore includes the redevelopment of greater Sentosa as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront, the cultivation of the sprawling Mandai ecotourism area which will include an eco-tourism resort run by Banyan Tree Holdings, and the rejuvenation of Orchard Road.

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