The more than 3,000 journalists set to arrive in Singapore for the June 12 summit between the United States and North Korea leaders will work from the F1 Pit Building in downtown Singapore.
Preparations were in full swing yesterday when The Straits Times visited the venue at about 1pm.
Barricades, air-conditioning units and other fixtures were seen outside some ground-floor garages, while rooms on the second floor were filled with long tables covered with white tablecloths and blue and white skirting, each featuring several power sockets. Blue chairs were stacked outside a room.
On the third floor, workers were constructing walled structures in one of the rooms.
The centre already hosts throngs of journalists from around the world each time the Formula One race comes around in September.
But as the summit's International Media Centre, it is expected to be occupied more extensively than during the Singapore F1 Grand Prix.
The centre will have several sections, including a media briefing room, a dining room and a media lounge with settee seats. These will be spread across the three floors of the building.
It will operate around the clock, from 10am on June 10 to 10pm on June 13. There will be about 2,000 workstations for use, with TV screens showing live footage of media events.
The $40 million building, built in 10 months after construction started in 2007, has a gross floor area of 23,000 sq m.
For the Grand Prix, the 350m-long building houses 36 garages for the F1 teams, race control facilities, winners' podium and hospitality lounges for 4,000 people.
Outside the race period, areas in the building can be rented from its owner, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
Located off Republic Boulevard and adjacent to the Singapore Flyer, the building is close to several luxury hotels, including Marina Bay Sands and The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.
Meanwhile, the Government has declared the area surrounding Shangri-La Hotel a "special event area" between June 10 and 14 for the summit.
The pit building lies outside this delineated area, about 5km away.
Businesses at its neighbour, the Singapore Flyer, are bracing themselves for an expected surge in demand, with some planning to deploy extra workers to cope with it.
Mr Bhandari Rajender Kumar, owner of Bhandari's Saffron restaurant, said regular events held nearby, such as Beerfest and the National Day Parade, typically boosts sales by up to 30 per cent.
"We haven't been told anything yet, but we are looking forward to it - we will come up with special promotions for the media," said Mr Bhandari, 61. Extra chefs and wait staff will also be brought in from his other outlets next week.
An employee at gelato shop Gelatissimo said it extends business hours during major events, and sales during the F1 race typically double.
A spokesman for the Singapore Flyer said that it is working with the STB to roll out special offerings for visiting media.
Pan Pacific hotel, which is near the Pit Building, said it will step up security around the summit dates.
"Our associates and security team have been briefed to be more vigilant, and patrols in the hotel will be increased to ensure the safety and comfort of our guests," said its general manager Gino Tan.
The June 12 summit, the first between sitting leaders of the two countries, has drawn worldwide attention, with crowds of journalists scheduled to fly in next week.
The Straits Times understands that NHK, Japan's national public broadcaster, has booked flights and hotel rooms for about 100 people, including its correspondents from around the world.
The BBC is said to be sending about 80 journalists.
Around 100 journalists from South Korea, including those from the Blue House and Foreign Ministry press pool, are understood to be covering the summit. Another 100 Seoul-based foreign journalists are also expected to come for the meeting.
KBS, South Korea's largest public broadcaster, plans to send 60 to 70 people, including journalists, producers and camera crew.
The White House press pool, which comprises journalists who travel with the president and is said to number up to 100, is likely to operate from its own media centre. Sources say this could be at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach, where they are likely to stay.
It is understood that some 400 other members of the media accredited with the White House have also registered for the summit.
- Additional reporting by Chang May Choon and Nirmal Ghosh