SINGAPORE - Over the last nine years as the Jurong Lake area was being rejuvenated, small business owners started noticing an uptick in sales.
This was because more residents were choosing to spend their time in the area on weekends instead of travelling to other estates, said Jurong Town Centre Merchant Association chairman Tan Kah Ann.
The addition of a children's playground and a green roof pavilion at J Link, a new pedestrian mall, are particularly well-utilised by families and for hosting community events, he noted.
"There are many tuition centres in this area, so after their classes, children often come down to play and run around with their friends while their parents shop nearby. It creates a very lively environment," said Mr Tan in Mandarin.
He owns three shop spaces in Jurong that he rents out.
On Sunday (Jan 19), the Housing Board announced the completion of renewal plans for the Jurong Lake area under its Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme. It was selected in 2011 for rejuvenation along with East Coast and Hougang.
Over the years, the housing estate has been progressively fitted with new amenities such as interconnected gardens and communal spaces.
One of the key ideas under the programme was the rejuvenation of the Jurong East Town Centre, comprising Blocks 130 to 135 Jurong Gateway Road. Now renamed as J Connect, its building facade and communal spaces were overhauled and given a modern look with lush landscaping.
It connects with the nearby JCube shopping mall via J Link.
Under the ROH programme, 10 neighbourhood centres within the housing estate have also been transformed.
For instance, Bukit Batok West Shopping Centre now has a community pavilion with rooftop greenery and a community garden with more than 20 types of herbs. It is home to 65 shops, numerous eateries, a wet market and a supermarket.
The area around Jurong East MRT station, which is now known as Jurong Gateway, is also a bustling town, with an integrated healthcare hub consisting of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital, and mixed-use developments such as Westgate and Jem.
A new 15km Jurong Lake District cycling network will be connected to the upcoming cycling paths in Taman Jurong estate, which are expected to be completed this year.
Jurong began as an industrial town in the 1960s.
In the 1970s, residents living in Hong Kah - present-day Tengah - and surrounding villages were resettled in estates such as Boon Lay, Taman Jurong, Bukit Batok, Bukit Gombak, Hong Kah, Teban Gardens and Yuhua.
The completion of rejuvenation plans does not mean the end of new developments, said the HDB.
From 2021, the remaining sections of Jurong Lake Gardens, including the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, will be completed. The western section was opened to the public in April 2019.
By 2026, the Jurong Lake Area will become a leisure and recreational cluster, complete with a new 7ha integrated tourism development and the new Science Centre, developed around Jurong Lake.
These will be part of the up-and-coming Jurong Lake District that will span 360ha, making it the largest mixed-use business district outside the city centre.
The district has been earmarked as a car-lite district.
And new MRT lines will also be completed, such as the Jurong Region Line in 2027 and Cross Island Line in the 2030s.
Mr Tan is confident the renewal plans will attract even more visitors to the area, which has been dubbed "Orchard Road of the West".
"When all the malls, neighbourhoods and parks are connected, people won't have to travel elsewhere to shop or play. We can do everything here in Jurong," he said.