URA sets limit on carpark spaces at Marina Bay site

It says area has good public transport connections; similar measures may apply to future sites with comparable links

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has imposed a cap on the number of carpark spaces that can be built on a site - the first time it has made such a provision.

The URA imposed the limit on the Marina Bay mixed-use site triggered for launch last week, citing its good public transport links as a reason for it needing fewer parking spaces.

Future sale sites with comparable transport connections could face similar measures, the URA noted.

The move comes as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it is reviewing car parking standards "to achieve more optimal use of space", it told The Straits Times yesterday.

Car parking provision for the 1.1ha white site in Central Boulevard has been capped at 80 per cent of the minimum Car Parking Standards (CPS) set by the LTA.

Previous sites sold by the Government typically required a developer to comply with these minimum standards.


Car parking provision for a 1.1ha mixed-use site in Central Boulevard has been capped at 80 per cent of the minimum Car Parking Standards set by the Land Transport Authority. Trimming the number of carpark spaces in commercial buildings is the latest move in the Government's push for a car-lite nation. PHOTO: URA

"Given the significant improvements to public transport connectivity in the city, and that this site is also well connected to multiple MRT lines, it presents a good opportunity to apply lower parking provisions in line with the move towards a car-lite Singapore," a URA spokesman said.

The site, which was triggered for launch as a developer committed to bid at least $1.536 billion at the tender, is near the Raffles Place, Downtown and upcoming Shenton Way MRT stations.

The CPS designates a minimum of one car space per 450 sq m of gross floor area for an office in the Central Business District (CBD). But "developers can provide more parking lots than the stipulated minimum to meet their own parking demand".

So, assuming that 5,000 sq m of the site is used for retail and the rest for offices, the Central Boulevard plot, with its maximum gross floor area of 141,294 sq m, would have a cap of about 252 carpark spaces under the new URA ruling. This compares with a minimum of about 315 parking spaces it would have had to build under the CPS.

The eventual developer of the Central Boulevard site must also provide 200 more bicycle parking spaces than the minimum standards require, the URA has mandated. This minimum provision works out to about 176 spaces, according to current LTA proposals.

The CPS for office use was last revised in 2002. In 2005, the LTA and URA introduced "range-based car parking standards" that give builders of most non-residential projects islandwide and residential projects in certain zones, including the CBD, the option of providing up to 20 per cent fewer carpark spaces than under the CPS.

Buildings that have employed this option include OUE Downtown and International Building.

"As we continue to improve our public transport system and active mobility options, LTA is also reviewing the CPS to achieve more optimal use of space," an LTA spokesman said yesterday.

Trimming the number of carpark spaces in commercial buildings is just the latest move in the Government's push for a car-lite nation.

Developers erecting new buildings or planning major revamps to existing ones must now submit a "Walking and Cycling Plan" showing how they take into account the needs of pedestrians and cyclists, noted Ms Christine Li, Cushman & Wakefield's director of research.

Still, the first question a developer would ask is whether the marketability of a building would be eroded should it have fewer carpark spaces, said Mr Jeremy Lake, CBRE's executive director of investment properties.

Some tenants, especially consultancies and law firms with many partners, tend to place a high premium on carpark spaces, a developer noted. "But over the long term, society will change; people will get used to having less carpark space and take public transport. Part of the issue now is that the transport network is not fully up yet and some MRT lines are still under construction," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2016, with the headline 'URA sets limit on carpark spaces at Marina Bay site'. Print Edition | Subscribe