Old buildings in Singapore are no longer left to rot and await the wrecker's ball.
In fact, they are the rage now - and given a new lease of life.
Take for instance, CHIJMES, the former convent school which was given a S$100 million makeover over a decade ago. It has since established itself as a premier lifestyle destination among locals and tourists alike, with its al fresco dining options and numerous watering holes.
More recently, plans for Tanglin Village were unveiled. The former army camp is set to be the next Holland Village, with chic restaurants, wine retailers, lifestyle concepts, a kindergarten, and even a dance school.
Next, it will be the turn of the former Changi General Hospital at Halton Road. The new Changi General Hospital moved to Simei in 1998.
The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) today announced that the 70-year-old dame will get a $20 million makeover to transform it into an integrated lifestyle and hospitality attraction, housing a resort, spa and restaurants. The 7,638 sq metre former hospital is spread over 12,427 sq m.
SLA said it received two bids of $25,919 and $33,388 per month. The tenancy is for an initial term of three years, and renewable up to 2016.
Premium Pacific Pte Ltd impressed the SLA with its plan for a proposed spa and resort development, which will retain the rustic charm of the Changi area, and preserve the transquility and characteristic of the buildings.
Visitors can expect a scenic and laid-back ambience when the rejuvenated buildings opens their doors to visitors in the first half of next year.
Mr Anthony Tan, Director of Bestway Properties Pte Ltd, of which Premium Pacific is a subdiary, said his company bid for the project because "we appreciate heritage buildings and saw the potential" to develop the old hospital site as "a gateaway for those who are looking for a place to relax and pamper themselves.
"Beside targeting the locals, we also intend to target the foreign budget traveller who may prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, and instead retreat into the laidback tranquillity of a holiday resort for a weekend getaway."
Mr Tan added that the suburban concept and locality has proved to be popular and is replicated in many parts of the world.
Mr Simon Ong, SLA Land Operations Division Director, is confident that Premium Pacific, said that the building is now more accessible and interconnected through the recent infrastructural improvements, such as the 1.2 km western boardwalk stretching from Changi Beach Cloub to Changi Sailing Club and a newly completed 1.4 km eastern coastal walkway.
"With some creativity and enterprising spirit, Premium Pacific can help transform the former hospital site to complement the overall vision for Changi Point as a coastal recreation village," he said.
Mr Ong added that SLA would make available more former institutional buildings for adaptive uses, under strict guidelines for conserved buildings. Under current rules, the facade and major structures of conserved buildings cannot be altered but internal spaces may be reconfigured for new uses.
Some of the old buildings being given a new lease of life include Lorong Bekukong next to the Changi Point Ferry Terminal. The wooden kampong style structure raised on masonry footings was opened for public tender last Friday, and will house restaurants and shops.
For more details on the tender for Lorong Bekukong, visit http://www.gebiz.gov.sg/.