SINGAPORE - The main building of a former bottling factory, the former National Aerated Water Co, will be partially conserved by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
Last December, the company sold its freehold site, home to the landmark, to Malaysia-listed developer Selangor Dredging for $47 million. The site has a land area of 31,705 sq ft and an allowable gross floor area of 88,775 sq ft, based on a plot ratio of 2.8. It is near Potong Pasir MRT station and can yield 117 apartments averaging 70 sq m.
Selangor Dredging’s managing director Teh Lip Kim said the building will be transformed into a “unique and lively commercial area” located next to a park connector, adjacent to the Kallang River.
News of the sale and potential razing of the historic building that once bottled iconic soft drinks Sinalco, Kickapoo Joy Juice and Royal Crown Cola had caused concern among many in the heritage community. Some heritage enthusiasts had been calling for it to be conserved from as early as 2007.
Last year, the URA said it recognises the architectural and heritage value of the building and its role as a landmark in the area but had to engage its new building owner to explore the possibility of its conservation.
Buildings earmarked for conservation need to follow URA's principles of maximum retention, sensitive restoration and careful repair, among other things.
The latest update was welcomed by heritage blogger Jerome Lim, a naval architect. He said the building has long been a landmark in the area. The factory is part of Singapore's industrial heritage and one of the last remnants of the Kallang River's industrial past, he said.
"Located along a main thoroughfare, many Singaporeans remember it with great fondness and it provides a sense of familiarity in an area that has undergone much change. The factory is also one put up by a home-grown company - a very Singaporean effort at industrialisation," he added.
Experts such as Singapore University of Technology and Design's Assistant Professor Yeo Kang Shua said the update was "good news".
"It is great that such a visual landmark along Serangoon Road is kept. Hopefully there will be opportunity for members of the public to visit the site after conservation and development."
In 1954, National Aerated Water Co moved into this building that cost $500,000 then, making 48,000 bottles of aerated water a day.
The building sat dilapidated after operations ceased in the 1990s. Prior to the sale, there was a legal tussle over shares in the factory. The firm was set up in 1929 in Jalan Besar and was once owned by three brothers - Mr Ching Kwong Yew, Mr Ching Kwong Kuen and Mr Ching Kwong Lum.
It later moved to Kallang after getting the licence to bottle Sinalco, a German beverage.
According to the online version of the masterplan, the site has been renamed as Jui Residences.