New use for ex-Changi Motorsports Hub site

It is now reserved for aviation-related industries to support airport's Terminal 5

The site of the Changi Motorsports Hub, a project that ground to a halt two years ago.
The site of the Changi Motorsports Hub, a project that ground to a halt two years ago.Construction for the new airport terminal has begun. ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN

A 41ha site in Changi, once set aside for a motor racing circuit, is reserved for industries to support the upcoming Changi Airport Terminal 5.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said: "The land originally intended for the Changi Motorsports Hub is zoned 'Reserve' in Master Plan 2014.

"It has been identified for the development of aviation-related industries to support the growth of the airport."

A URA spokesman added that "the timeline for its development is dependent on the pace of the airport expansion".

Construction work for the sprawling new terminal - slated to open around 2025 with an initial capacity of up to 50 million passengers a year - has already started.

But the site was boarded up and overgrown when The Straits Times visited early this week, although the metal piles that were sunk into the ground before its former project ground to a halt two years ago have been removed.

While aviation industry players welcomed plans to set aside the land for aviation-related activities, they noted that attractiveness of the site depends on several factors.

Said Aviation & Electronics Support (AES) chief executive Y.T. Low: "Firstly, it depends on what the government wants to do in terms of concentration."

The higher the concentration of companies, the more attractive it becomes, he explained.

"Secondly, cost. And thirdly, the kind of incentives and the level of infrastructural support available."

AES is based in Loyang, and Mr Low said he has no plans to move.

A Rolls-Royce spokesman said: "We're supportive of growth and expansion of the industry, but we have sunk our roots in Seletar. We invested $700 million here."

Meanwhile, the saga revolving around the Changi Motorsports Hub - a plan that was hatched in 2009, but had crashed and burned in 2013 - seems to be in its final chapter.

Sport Singapore said it has refunded some of developer SG Changi's paid-up capital (estimated to be around $36 million), after deducting the cost of reinstating the land and other administrative charges.

The police said yesterday that investigations into alleged irregularities have concluded, and that "a 55-year-old man has been administered with a warning".

The Straits Times understands that the man is Japanese temple builder Fuminori Murahashi, who was SG Changi's executive chairman.

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau is believed to have interviewed a number of people related to the project, including former senior executives of Singapore Sports Council (Sport Singapore's former name).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2015, with the headline 'New use for ex-Changi Motorsports Hub site'. Subscribe