Operators wanted for Marina Bay gallery

The building, which cost $10 million to build, was opened in 2010. The URA said it has not decided when the building will be leased out.
The building, which cost $10 million to build, was opened in 2010. The URA said it has not decided when the building will be leased out.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

URA seeks commercial tenants for building used previously for Marina Bay exhibition

The Marina Bay visitors' gallery, which closed last year after the Marina Bay exhibition ended, will get a new lease of life.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) asked commercial operators interested in leasing it to submit proposals last week.

And the building owner has spelt out requirements to potential tenants - they have to serve the public for at least 12 hours each day and offer free public access to the premises or activities.

These requirements will keep the Marina Bay City Gallery - the official name of the building - as "a public building for community use, complete with synergistic commercial uses", the URA told The Straits Times.

The two-storey building, which cost $10 million to construct, is at Marina Bay promenade between Marina Boulevard and the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.

It was opened in July 2010 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as a gallery where visitors could learn about the history and attractions of the Marina Bay waterfront promenade. The gallery closed in the middle of last year when the exhibition ended.

"It is a common practice in many cities when developing a new precinct to develop an exhibition area to showcase new plans and developments. The exhibition is retired when the plans reach a certain level of development," said the URA.

"The exhibits in the Marina Bay City Gallery... have served their purpose now that the major developments around Marina Bay have been completed," the URA added.

The building has a distinctive glass-clad facade and an indoor space about the size of seven five-room Housing Board flats. It is now partially occupied by Verve Pizza Bar. It also has an outdoor area that "can be used as a refreshment area, arts corner, etc, or for activities and programmes", said the URA in its letter to interested tenants last week.

In the letter, it said the building can be rented for three years and extended for up to another six.

The URA told The Straits Times it is collecting ideas and has not decided when the building would be leased out.

Mr Alex Yam, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for National Development, welcomed the proposal to integrate community and commercial use . "It is a step in the right direction," said Mr Yam.

But he added that the small size of the building can limit its use. "Perhaps it can provide shelter to visitors in the area," he said.

Mr Chong Kee Hiong, deputy chairman of the National Development GPC, said the building can attract tenants such as food and beverage operators and art galleries. Art galleries, for example, can use the building for public art exhibitions.

"It has a good location just across the Marina Bay Financial Centre," said Mr Chong, who is chief executive of OUE Hospitality Reit Management.

But he added that commercial operators will negotiate to not pay rent or pay less rent. "For commercial operators, it is about dollars and cents."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2016, with the headline 'Operators wanted for Marina Bay gallery'. Print Edition | Subscribe