NS Square, to replace Marina Bay floating platform, slated for 2025 completion; platform to host NDP in 2020, 2021

The existing floating platform, which has been used for several National Day Parades in recent years, could be demolished from January 2022. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The project to build a new NS Square - a new, permanent space that will replace The Float @ Marina Bay - is targeted to be completed and handed over by the third quarter of 2025, according to tender documents seen by The Straits Times.

The existing floating platform, which has been used for several National Day Parades (NDPs) in recent years, could be demolished from January 2022.

Before its demolition, the site will host two more NDPs, next year and in 2021, announced Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Monday (Sept 9).

In a Facebook post, he wrote: "Holding NDP 2019 at the Padang was an event steeped in history and traditions. For 2020 and 2021, NDP will be held at The Float @ Marina Bay, before that site closes for a few years to be built into the new NS Square."

"The Float is a unique site that, in addition to land activities, allows more air and sea assets to be deployed. Look forward to NDP 2020 and 2021," he added.

Built initially as a temporary NDP venue while the new National Stadium was under construction, The Float @ Marina Bay has hosted the event nine times since 2007, most recently in 2018. The parade last month was held at the Padang.

According to documents put up by the Ministry of Defence on government procurement portal GeBIZ in May, multidisciplinary teams who bid for the project can propose the demolition and construction sequence for the project to meet the expected handover date.

The team that will implement the selected design proposal is estimated to be appointed by the second quarter of 2020.

Stage 1 of the redevelopment project, the calling of an "expression of interest" to gather design proposals, ended in July.

In the next stage, up to five multidisciplinary teams will be shortlisted to develop and submit design and fee proposals. At the end of this stage, one team will be appointed as the project consultant to implement the selected design proposal, said the documents.

One of the requirements stated in the tender documents is for the new platform to have a seating capacity of 30,000 to 35,000. The current capacity is 27,000.

There are also requirements for a waterfront sports facility at NS Square, a multi-purpose field with turfing converted from the stage area when it is not required for events, and a gym space comprising an open hall and studio spaces.

In 2017, when Singapore marked 50 years of national service, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the floating platform would be renamed NS Square, with a gallery that would showcase the evolution of NS.

He also announced plans for the platform to be redeveloped and turned into a vibrant space for arts, culture and sports activities all year round.

The new venue can be used for parades, as well as community events such as arts performances, weekend markets and the River Hongbao, PM Lee had said at a dinner reception for national servicemen to mark 50 years of NS.

According to Mindef in 2017, the new NS Square will continue to be the venue for basic military training graduation parades and also parades for military units that complete their operationally ready national service.

The redevelopment is also aimed at improving pedestrian connectivity and providing a continuous loop around Marina Bay.

Organisers face several limitations as the platform was not designed for long-term use.

Also, there are difficulties in staging events at the venue as only basic facilities are provided while access to the waterfront has also been restricted during event days, which affects public enjoyment of Marina Bay.

Earlier this year, Mindef and the Ministry of National Development invited members of the public to submit their suggestions for the facilities and activities at the NS Square, as well as the exhibits they would like to see at a new gallery dedicated to national servicemen.

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