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Urban renewal in Shenton Way and Tanjong Pagar

Urban renewal is taking place in Shenton Way and Tanjong Pagar, so I headed to the city to check out the buildings being torn down or constructed. 

The iconic AXA Tower at 8 Shenton Way was completed in 1986, which makes it younger than me (!), but has been doomed to redevelopment.

At the junction of Shenton Way and Prince Edward Road.

Looking up at the junction of Shenton Way and Straits Boulevard.

The 52-storey skyscraper once housed the offices of the Ministry of Finance as The Treasury. 

It will make way for Skywaters Residences, a private residential complex which will become Singapore’s tallest building, at 63 storeys and 1,000 feet in height, when it is completed in 2028.

Tanjong Pagar is a short walk away from Shenton Way. In the area between Cantonment Road in the west and Anson Road in the east, there are no fewer than five construction sites. The air hangs heavy with clouds of dust and the cacophony of drilling and pounding. My heart goes out to the residents of nearby Tanjong Pagar Plaza, who will have to endure this for years, with little to no benefit to them.

Below is a map of the five construction sites, coloured blue.

Base map credit: Singapore Land Authority.

1. Keppel Towers at 10 Hoe Chiang Road, a 27-storey building launched in 1991, and Keppel Towers 2 at 240 Tanjong Pagar Road, formerly known as GE Tower, a 13-storey building completed in 1993, have been torn down for Keppel South Central, a 33-storey, energy-efficient commercial tower with a community plaza. Keppel South Central should be ready late next year.

A Straits Times report on the launch of Keppel Towers in August 1991. Credit: SPH Media Trust.

2. Tower Fifteen at 15 Hoe Chiang Road, formerly known as Euro-Asia Centre, at 29 storeys, has been demolished. Fragrance Group had applied to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for change of use for the site to full hotel usage, so a new hotel should rise on the spot. 

Tower Fifteen, sometime before 2003. Credit: Robert J Steiner.

3. Up to the 1980s, Bernam Street was nearly perpendicular to Anson Road. Between 1984 and 1986, it was realigned to run straight onto Lim Teck Kim Road. The realignment created an open field which laid fallow for more than three decades until recently, when work started on One Bernam, named after its address, 1 Bernam Street, a 34-storey luxury condominium tower to be completed by 2026.

Bernam Street in the 1984 street directory.
A realigned Bernam Street in the 1988 street directory.

4. Realty Centre, an 11-storey building at 15 Enggor Street first advertised in The Straits Times in 1970, was sold in 2019, and demolished after 2021. Its buyer The Place Holdings has obtained provisional permission from URA for a 37-storey mixed-use complex with a two-storey commercial podium and a 33-storey residential tower.

Realty Centre in July 2021.

5. Fuji Xerox Towers at 80 Anson Road, formerly known as IBM Towers, a 38-storey tower completed in 1987, is being demolished for Newport Plaza, a 47-storey mixed-use complex to be ready by 2027.

A Straits Times advertisement for IBM Towers as it neared completion in June 1986. Credit: SPH Media Trust.

Fuji Xerox Towers in July 2021.

The best view of the Tanjong Pagar construction sites is from the top floor of Block 1 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, as the common corridors open up to the south.

This is the southwest view of the sites for Keppel South Central and 15 Hoe Chiang Road.

This is the southeast view of the sites for One Bernam and 15 Enggor Street, and towering above them, Fuji Xerox Towers being torn down. The foreground will gradually rise while the background will slowly disappear.

I will be back in a year’s time.


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