OUE Limited and OUE Commercial REIT Management Pte. Ltd., in its capacity as manager of OUE Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust have collaborated to re-brand the landmark Mandarin Orchard Singapore to Hilton Singapore Orchard, following a comprehensive and strategic review.
Mandarin Orchard Singapore will relaunch as Hilton Singapore Orchard - Hilton’s flagship in Singapore and the largest Hilton hotel in Asia-Pacific - with product and service offerings aligned with Hilton’s brand standards. Hilton will have the exclusive authority to operate the property upon the opening of Hilton Singapore Orchard.
Asset enhancement works to add new meeting facilities as well as refreshed food & beverage offerings to cater to the growing demand for regional and global meetings, incentives, conference and exhibition (“MICE”) events have also been planned. The planned refurbishment will be conducted in phases and will commence in 2Q 2020 to capitalise on the current challenges facing the hospitality industry due to COVID-19. The refurbishment is scheduled to be completed by end-2021. During the refurbishment period, Mandarin Orchard Singapore will continue to operate under the management of Meritus Hotels & Resorts, the hotel management company under the Hospitality Division of OUE.
Upon its relaunch in 2022, the hotel will feature 1,080 well-appointed rooms and five restaurants and bars including an all-day dining restaurant. The hotel will also boast meeting and function spaces spanning a total of 3,765 sqm, including three ballrooms.
Singapore Philatelic Museum will be closed for redevelopment to refresh the museum’ infrastructure, content and offerings to enhance the visitor experience for Singaporeans. This will be a major redevelopment since SPM’s opening in 1995. The museum will be closed to the public from 18 March 2019, and is expected to re-open to the public in 2021.
Dedicated to showcasing Singapore’s rich philatelic heritage, SPM uses stamps as windows to introduce Singapore’s heritage and culture, as well as our connections to the world. Located at 23B Coleman Street, the building that houses SPM was formerly part of the Anglo Chinese School, and later the Methodist Book Room. SPM was officially opened on 19 August 1995 as a project of the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore. Since 2000, the museum has been managed by National Heritage Board.
Redevelopment works at SPM will include essential infrastructural upgrades to the museum building, as well as a revamp of the permanent and changing galleries to improve visitor experience.
During its redevelopment, SPM will continue to engage the young through travelling exhibitions and education programmes at pre-schools, primary and secondary schools. It will also continue to organise signature events such as the annualNational Stamp Collecting Competition and Draw My Stamp Story Art Competition. Families can also visit A Little Magic roving exhibition at public libraries. Look out for updates and activities on the museum website www.spm.org.sg!
Singapore's eighth MRT line, the Cross Island Line (CRL) will be our longest fully underground line at more than 50 kilometres long. It will serve existing and future developments in the eastern, western, and north-eastern corridors, connecting major hubs such as Jurong Lake District, Punggol Digital District and Changi region.
When operational, it will have the highest number of interchange stations, with almost half the stations on the line being linked to existing rail stations. This means more alternative travel routes to get to your destination.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is also pleased to announce the alignment and station locations for the Cross Island Line (CRL) – Punggol Extension, which connects Pasir Ris to Punggol, providing a direct connection for commuters travelling between eastern and north-eastern Singapore.
The 7.3-kilometre extension will provide better rail connectivity and greater accessibility for those living in eastern areas such as Pasir Ris and Tampines North as well as north-eastern areas such as Punggol and Sengkang. The Punggol extension will be fully underground and comprises four stations, namely Punggol, Riviera, Elias, and Pasir Ris. Construction for the extension is expected to commence in 2022, with the stations opening by 2031.
With the CRL-Punggol Extension, Punggol residents will be able to reach Pasir Ris within 15 minutes on the MRT in future. A same journey on the bus takes around 40 minutes. It will also halve the travel time for commuters travelling from Punggol North to Loyang Industrial Area.
Constructed in three phases, the 29km long Phase 1 of the CRL (CRL1) will comprise 12 stations from Aviation Park to Bright Hill. This will serve residential and industrial areas such as Loyang, Tampines, Pasir Ris, Defu, Hougang, Serangoon North and Ang Mo Kio. More than 100,000 households will benefit from CRL1, and common recreational spaces such as Changi Beach Park and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park will also become accessible by public transport. Construction for CRL1 is expected to be completed by 2029.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has opened its Singapore Office which marks a new stage in the expansion of ADB’s private sector operations. It will be a lean and focused office comprising 12 specialists from ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department (PSOD) and Office of Public–Private Partnership, working in a range of sectors including infrastructure, financial institutions, agribusiness, health and education, trade finance, private equity, and cofinancing. The office is led by Sonali Tang, who has worked at ADB for 5 years in various senior roles.
ADB’s private sector operations promote the investment of private capital for development purposes. Last year, PSOD completed 38 transactions, around one-fifth of ADB’s total operations by number. ADB aims to increase this to one-third of total operations by 2024. The office will make it easier for ADB to efficiently engage with clients, project sponsors, contractors, advisors, financiers, other international finance institutions, and professional service providers.
Singapore was a founding member of ADB in 1966. It borrowed from ADB until 1980 and graduated formally from borrowing in 1998. Since 2001, Singapore has contributed to ADB’s concessional fund, the Asian Development Fund, as well as the Technical Assistance Special Fund. In 2012, ADB and Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance knowledge sharing and cooperation in governance and public policy, private sector development, climate change, and infrastructure and urban development. Singapore is an active participant in the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund that is supported by ADB.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
More than 13,000 food items were raised for Food for the Heart's very first community shop at Mountbatten. The donations will supplied to 500 needy households from the Mountbatten and MacPherson neighbourhoods. At the store, beneficiaries can choose up to 12 items a month from the wide selection which is manned by volunteers.
Food from the Heart (FFTH) is a non-profit charity organization established in February 2003 after Singapore-based Austrian couple Henry and Christine Laimer read an article in The Sunday Times about bakeries discarding their unsold bread. Stirred, they then decided to channel surplus food from bakeries to those in need.
Food from the Heart has since evolved to become a resource bank, taking in non-perishable food items, toys and toiletries besides bread, whilst recycling and rechanneling whatever they can to good use.
As the need for services continue to grow, innovative programmes were added to not just alleviate hunger but also bring joy and hope, touching lives in every possible way.
Changi Airport Group (CAG) has made official announcement that expansion and renovation works at Terminal 2 (T2) will commence after the Chinese New Year holidays, beginning with check-in rows 9 to 12 in the Departure Hall. This marks the beginning of a multi-year expansion project which will increase T2’s handling capacity, as well as to replace facilities and amenities which are nearing the end of their shelf lives.
The expansion project will add 15,500 square metres to the terminal building and increase Changi Airport’s capacity by five million passengers per annum (mppa). This brings Changi’s total capacity to 90 mppa when the works are completed around 2024.
Last refurbished in 2006, the refreshed T2 will sport even more greenery and natural elements at every turn, in keeping with Changi’s signature garden theme in its terminals. There will also be space added in the Departure and Arrival Halls, giving more room to airport operations such as check-in and immigration clearance. Additional retail and F&B outlets will be introduced in both the public and transit areas, providing passengers and visitors with wider and refreshed options. At the same time, passenger touchpoints will be enhanced for a smoother and more seamless experience.
The refurbished T2 Departure Hall will feature a spacious common-use central Fast And Seamless Travel (FAST) zone, with more automated check-in kiosks and bag drop machines. With this, more passengers will be able to use these self-service options to check-in early. Concurrently, the existing rows of check-in counters in the Departure Hall will be transformed to better serve passengers. All in all, the passenger handling capacity in the hall will be increased by as much as 20%.
To facilitate the expansion works, some airlines operating in T2 will be shifted to alternative check-in rows within the terminal during the course of works. The two flight information display flip boards will be retired, with the one between Check-in Rows 9 and 10 to be decommissioned next month.
A duplex F&B concept will be introduced at the north end of T2’s landside leading to Jewel Changi Airport, to provide visitors with a fresh dining experience, while transforming this gateway to Jewel.
In the Departure Transit Hall, the Orchid Garden, which has provided calm reprieve to many passengers with its elegant orchids since 1997, will be closed to make way for a new garden. This new garden will showcase a revolutionary landscape design, incorporating a plethora of new plant species for the enjoyment of passengers when it re-opens.
To cater for more retail and F&B offerings for passengers, the commercial spaces within the Departure Transit Hall will be increased. In particular, the food street areas along the length of the Departure Transit Hall and overlooking the tarmac will undergo refurbishment. Designed to provide passengers with a garden dining experience, this area will incorporate dramatic green walls, hanging plants and soft lighting. More F&B kiosks options will be brought in, along with additional seating and a newly curated tenant mix for an enhanced dining experience.
In addition, all passengers, whether transferring, transiting or departing, can also look forward to refreshed waiting areas with more comfortable seating, relaxation zones and a new play area for children. New experiential zones will be introduced at various locations within the Departure Transit Hall to keep passengers entertained during their time at Changi.
To cater to higher passenger traffic passing through T2, the Departure and Arrival Immigration Halls will be expanded. Specifically, the Immigration Halls will be reconfigured to support additional automated immigration lanes. The Immigration Halls will similarly incorporate lush greenery, extending a warm welcome to our passengers.
To handle a higher volume of bags at T2, two existing baggage belts will be lengthened and another two new belts will be added, bringing the total number of baggage belts to 10. The Early Baggage Storage system will also be upgraded from semi-automated to fully-automated, allowing some 2,300 bags to be stored at any time.
In the Arrival Hall, a garden-like lounge will be created, where meeters and greeters can wait comfortably for their friends and families to arrive.
For the dining outlets in the public area of the airport, McDonald’s in the Arrival Hall will close on 31 January 2020, while Starbucks in the Departure Hall will cease operations in April 2020. The remaining F&B outlets in T2’s public areas will remain open for passengers and visitors until the later phases of the expansion works. With the refurbishment, a new cluster of F&B kiosks will offer additional quick bites options at the south end of the Arrival Hall.
The 43km Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) is Singapore’s sixth MRT line, adding 32 new stations to the existing rail network, with seven interchange stations linking the TEL to all five existing MRT lines. TEL will open in stages from end of January 2020, starting with the opening of 3 stations which are Woodlands North Station, Woodlands Station and Woodlands South Station. When fully operational by 2024, the TEL is expected to serve approximately 500,000 commuters daily in the initial years, with the figure rising to about one million commuters in the longer term.
Besides enhancing connectivity between the north, central and eastern parts of Singapore, the TEL will strengthen the resilience of the nation's rail network by providing alternative travel routes for commuters on other lines.
The TEL1 comprises one depot at Mandai and three stations, including an interchange station at Woodlands that links to the North-South Line (NSL), providing commuters in Woodlands greater accessibility and shortening their travelling time. Woodlands Station is also equipped with a Civil Defence shelter.
Passengers can look forward to new five-door, four-car trains for TEL. Trains will be running along TEL1 stations from Woodlands North to Woodlands South at frequencies of 10 minutes during peak hours and 15 minutes during off-peak hours, at the commencement of passenger service for TEL1. As ridership on TEL1 increases, the frequencies for both peak and off-peak hours will be reviewed and adjusted.
The second stage of the TEL comprises six stations from Springleaf to Caldecott, with two interchange stations at Bright Hill and Caldecott. Bright Hill station will link to the future Cross Island Line, while Caldecott station will link to the existing Circle Line.
Climate change is anticipated to worsen the spread of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue. It facilitates the spread of mosquito vectors, viruses and epidemics. There is thus a need to continually innovate and design sustainable solutions to deal with these environmental public health challenges. Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) has established a new, highly automated facility that will allow researchers to eventually increase their production capacity of Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by more than 10-fold, compared to its previous production facility.
This boost in capacity is critical for NEA’s plans to scale up Project Wolbachia – Singapore, in preparation for future deployment of the novel vector control technology. The new facility, located at Techplace II in Ang Mo Kio, was officially opened on 2 December 2019 by Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR).
NEA’s Project Wolbachia involves the release of male Wolbachia-Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to suppress the urban Aedes aegypti mosquito population. Aedes aegypti is the primary vector of dengue, chikungunya and Zika in Singapore. When the released male Wolbachia-Aedes aegypti mosquitoes mate with urban female Aedes aegyptimosquitoes that do not carry Wolbachia, the resulting eggs do not hatch. Over time, continued releases of male Wolbachia-Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are expected to bring about a gradual reduction in the urban Aedes aegypti mosquito population, and hence lower the risk of dengue transmission. Read more about this project here.