SINGAPORE - A final 18-month extension has been granted to tenants at Turf City until Dec 31, 2023, said the authorities on Thursday (Sept 30).
In a joint statement, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said that development plans for the Turf City site are being studied, with land preparation works scheduled to start after Dec 31, 2023.
"As part of the planning process, detailed technical studies such as environmental and heritage studies are being carried out to ensure that the site is developed sensitively," said the statement.
More about the plans for the site will be shared when ready, it added.
The SLA, which has been managing Turf City since 1999, leases the site for lifestyle and recreational uses on an interim basis.
The site currently has 15 tenancies, including retail, food and beverage, and sports and recreation businesses, as well as childcare centres and motor vehicle showrooms. The original tenancies were for periods up till Dec 31 last year.
In 2019, SLA granted an 18-month extension to the tenancies, from Jan 1, 2021, to June 30 next year. This allowed the interim users to continue operating while development plans for the site were being studied.
"Having considered the lead time required to prepare the site for future development, SLA will grant a final 18-month extension to Dec 31, 2023, for tenants to make the necessary transition plans," said SLA and URA.
"Agencies have informed the tenants that there will be no further extension beyond Dec 31, 2023."
The statement noted that the 140ha site, about the size of 200 football fields, has been slated for residential use since the Master Plan 1998, which specified the uses permitted for land within various zones, was drawn up.
One of the tenants, Bukit Timah Saddle Club, has been asked to return an affected area from the first half of 2023.
The area, which is about 0.8ha within its tenanted boundary, is needed for a worksite to support tunnelling works for the Cross Island Line, said SLA and URA.
"Agencies will work closely with (Bukit Timah Saddle Club) to minimise any disruption to their business operations," they added.
In April 2019, The Straits Times reported that five sports and recreation operators in Turf City had formed a collective to seek lease extensions as they enter the final 18 months of their time there. They had planned to request a lease of at least six years on a three-year renewal basis, with hope for longer.
Mr Rajesh Mulani, 51, co-owner of The Cage, which has both football and futsal pitches at Turf City, said that finding another suitable location in Singapore would not be easy.
His facility, which has been operating since 2005, used to host up to 25,000 players a month before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. "It's going to be tough to rebuild this momentum," said Mr Rajesh, who has another venue in Kallang.