Underground shopping at Marine Parade
Underground retail space connecting Marine Parade and Marine Terrace stations
Marine Parade residents can look forward to shopping at an underground retail space the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is developing.
The retail space will sit above part of the tunnel connecting Marine Parade and Marine Terrace stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line.
The space, to have 133,000 sq ft of gross floor area in a single storey, is seen as a way of getting more mileage from public infrastructure investment and optimising land productivity, reported The Business Times (BT).
Provisional permission for the proposed retail development was granted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in March.
The Marine Parade station is slated for completion in 2023.
Having underground retail space next to MRT stations is not a new concept - such spaces have been developed at the Raffles Place and Dhoby Ghaut stations, as well as in the linkway between the two stations (East-West and Downtown lines) at the Bugis Interchange.
But Marine Parade is likely to be the first time the concept is being introduced in a fairly big way outside the city, said market watchers.
Large existing malls in the vicinity are not expected to take a big hit from the underground retail space, which is likely to provide ancillary convenience services to commuters on the go.
An LTA spokesman told BT: "To improve connectivity and maximise underground space, LTA will construct an adjoining underground space as part of Marine Parade station.
"The single-storey structure is constructed by taking advantage of the cut-and-cover construction of the tunnels to the east of the station on Marine Parade Road."
She added that the retail space will be handed over to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), the custodian of State properties.
An SLA spokesman said that since the underground space and station will be completed only in 2023, the authority will be looking into how the space can be best managed and utilised.
Mr Danny Yeo, group managing director at Knight Frank, thinks the authorities could adopt one of three possible models in deciding to whom the underground retail space will be handed over.
One option would be to hand over the space to the party that will be given the licence to operate the Thomson-East Coast Line.
"The operator would most likely be keen because of the additional revenue source from the retail rental collection," he said.
Alternatively, SLA could appoint a professional asset-management and/or facilities-management firm to run the retail space on behalf of the state.
"Such a party would bring in the tenants, manage them, collect rentals and do property maintenance in exchange for fee income from the Government," said Mr Yeo.
In the third scenario, the authorities could grant a long lease, say 20 or more years on the retail space to a third party.
Mr Yeo said he did not expect existing malls in the vicinity - Parkway Parade and One KM - to experience significant impact from the existence of the proposed retail space.
"This underground retail space will cater more to the convenience of MRT travellers," he added.
"So there will be some F&B outlets and takeaway stalls, convenience stores, maybe foot reflexology, nail bars, a place one could pick up simple cosmetics, a wellness centre."