The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and National Parks Board (NParks) plan to strengthen Orchard Road’s position as a “must-visit lifestyle destination”. The plan will have two main thrusts, which is to make Orchard Road ‘The Lifestyle Destination’ and to “Bring Back the Orchard”.
As a lifestyle destination, Orchard Road will offer differentiated experiences to bring out the unique identity of each sub-precinct – Tanglin, Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut.
Lifestyle experiences will be introduced at Tanglin to identify itself as a “mixed-use neighbourhood with arts and artisanal choices”, and the conserved Tudor Court will be used to house more arts and cultural offerings.
Orchard will remain as the “retail heart” of Singapore with more street activities and better pedestrian connectivity implemented. Beginning April, the Orchard Road Business Association will also begin a year-long trial to bring activities such as retail and food and beverage pop-ups and arts and entertainment events to the pedestrian walkways along the street.
Meanwhile, STB, URA and NParks will strengthen Somerset’s position as a youth hub with new lifestyle options, while Dhoby Ghaut will be envisaged as family-friendly lifestyle zone, with outdoor play areas and event venues.
In addition, retail concepts, attractions, entertainment and events will be introduced at each sub-precinct to cater to the varied interests of visitors. Side streets such as Killiney Road and Orchard Turn will also be enhanced to allow visitors to discover the lesser known parts of the precincts and better connect Orchard Road to the surrounding neighbourhoods.
As Singapore has acquired an international reputation over the years as a city in a garden, the plan to “Bring Back the Orchard” will see Orchard Road being envisaged as a lush green urban corridor connecting Singapore Botanic Gardens and Fort Canning Park. The streets can be enhanced through a curated showcase of vibrant trees and shrubs that depict the colours of the tropics. Nutmeg and cloves can also be incorporated in strategic locations, to draw back to Orchard Road’s origins.
Additionally, Istana Park can also be rejuvenated with themed gardens inspired by the botanical and horticultural traditions and practices seen throughout Singapore’s history.
Minister for trade and industry and co-chair of ministerial steering committee for Orchard Road Chan Chun Sing said that the government will continue to develop strategic plans for the development of Orchard. Adding that this needs to balanced with private sector-led developments, he said that the government has spoken to businesses, shoppers, developers and global trend-setters for the revamp ideas.
Minister for National Development and co-chair of ministerial steering committee for Orchard Road, Lawrence Wong, said that the government agencies will continue to take in feedback and suggestions, while working with the stakeholders to refine and implement plans to make Orchard Road “a great street in the City in a Garden”.
“All cities have their own popular shopping streets and neighbourhoods. In Singapore, Orchard Road is our premier shopping district. But it is facing stiff competition from other cities, and has to adapt to rapidly changing retail trends,” he added.
Philip Ng, chief executive officer, Far East Organization, said that the upcoming plan to transform Orchard Road must be “underpinned” by collaboration at many levels between the private and public sectors. He added that Orchard Road’s transformation into a lifestyle destination will require a robust partnership.
In an earlier statement, Chee Hong Tat, senior minister of state for trade and industry and education said that plans are currently underway together with the URA, Land Transport Authority as well as business owners and industry players to reinvent Orchard Road. Although these plans were to be revealed at a later stage, Chee explained that Orchard Road would hold potential to be “more than” a shopping belt.