SINGAPORE - Oasis Terraces, a seven-storey mall built along the waterfront in Punggol, is integrated with transportation nodes and also boasts a 24-hour fitness centre and a supermarket which opens until 11pm.
Residents had a say in what they wanted included in the early planning stages of the Housing Board (HDB) development in 2014.
In officially opening the mall on Sunday (Feb 17), Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said Oasis Terraces is the first of six new-generation neighbourhood centres which are developed with residents' feedback and the HDB as the landlord.
Unlike a private developer, he said, the HDB is not out to maximise commercial returns and is able to ensure the centres are well integrated with transportation nodes and the overall plans for the towns.
"We can include more public spaces in the neighbourhood centres for residents to gather and mingle, to achieve our social objectives of strengthening family bonds and facilitating community integration," he said in a speech to residents at the mall's community plaza.
Oasis Terraces, for instance, has community gardens, an outdoor playground and a fitness corner on the rooftop, besides its 106 shops.
Shops are allocated to tenants through a tender process, but the decisions are based not just on highest price but also on qualitative factors such as the proposed business concept and operating model, said Mr Wong.
"This allows us to better manage the tenant mix to address the needs of residents."
There will be five more such developments coming up in the next few years.
Buangkok Square in Hougang will start operating this year, while Canberra Plaza in Sembawang will see works completed this year.
Hougang Rivercourt in Hougang and Northshore Plaza in Punggol will be completed next year; and Anchorvale Village in Sengkang will be completed by 2022.
About 30 Punggol residents took part in four focus group discussions about Oasis Terraces from June to August 2014.
They had indicated that they wanted to see shops and facilities which open late, more family-friendly dining options as well as sports and recreation facilities.
The mall, which is next to Oasis LRT station, is the first neighbourhood centre to be co-located with a polyclinic and childcare centre, as well as sustainable features such as motion-sensor lighting and solar panels.
It is also the first neighbourhood centre to house an entrepreneur cluster for 10 online businesses to run physical stores at lower rents than in other commercial buildings.
There are a total of 110 existing neighbourhood centres across Singapore, which are being upgraded over time.
In 2000, the HDB allowed private developers to lead in the building of these centres to tap their expertise in developing suburban commercial malls.
But in 2015, it decided to take over the development of centres, as the private developers were not keen to build in new towns until a critical mass of residents had moved in, which meant that those who moved in earlier did not have sufficient amenities.
Madam Juraini Jumari, 34, a store cook who lives next door to the mall, said the supermarket is very conveniently located. Her family has been living in Punggol for five years, and she previously had to walk at least 10 minutes to buy groceries, or go further to Waterway Point.
“I’m also looking forward to the water play area opening for the kids,” she said. Together with her sister’s family, her household has four children aged one to four.