The National Parks Board (NParks) collected a lot more rent in its last financial year, ending March 2015, with rental income surging by 48 per cent, or about $2.6 million.
It had a new museum tenant in Fort Canning Park, as well as two fairly new retail shops in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, to thank for boosting its coffers.
NParks said the opening of Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris, the first global offshoot of France's largest private museum, as well as two shops by gift retail chain Risis, helped to increase rental income.
According to NParks' latest annual report, its rental income rose from about $5.5 million in financial year (FY) 2013 to about $8.2 million in FY2014. Rental income made up about 34 per cent of its total income for FY2014.
The increase in rental income reflects how parks today have evolved to include many amenities and attractions, said Mr Chris Koh, director of estate agency Chris International.
He said: "In the past, parks used to be just places of greenery, but now you have museums, retail and food and beverage shops.
"While NParks needs revenue for these places, members of the public will also stand to benefit by having such amenities."
There are more than 60 tenants in public parks around the island, with most being dining outlets, according to NParks' website.
Overall, NParks' income increased by 29 per cent to about $24 million in FY2014, mainly because of more income from rents and admission charges, said a spokesman.
The rise in admission charges was due to ticket sales for the Singapore Garden Festival in August 2014, which had about 300,000 visitors, she added.
Both the museum and Risis declined to say how much rent they are paying.
Risis now has three outlets in the Singapore Botanic Gardens which opened in 2013 and 2014, ranging in size from 49 to 215 sq m.
The rent for shops at the gardens could be about 20 per cent lower than those in shopping malls, said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.
A 49 sq m shop space in a mall could cost $7,000 to $10,000 a month.
He added: "Retailers these days have more avenues to get niche retail spaces which are unlike those in conventional shopping malls.
"The shoppers are those who like to visit interesting places and they may like the greenery that NParks can provide."
Mr Sanchit Bhatnagar, director of sales, marketing and communications at Art Heritage Singapore, which manages the Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris museum, said it chose Fort Canning Park for its central location and greenery, among other reasons.
Since its opening in May last year, the museum, which is in the Fort Canning Arts Centre, has attracted 30,000 visitors to both paid and free galleries.
"Visitors have shared that the museum is suitably placed at a venue with strong local history. We are working with the relevant stakeholders to further enhance accessibility for the public," he added.
Ms Wee Swee Poh, chief executive officer of BP de Silva, the parent company of Risis, which manages the three outlets at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, said it had space constraints when it had just one outlet there.
She said: "Having three stores within the gardens allows us to better cater to visitors. "