Orchard Road to undergo major revamp to make it more than a retail destination

·Editorial Team
An artist’s impression of the Dhoby Ghaut event space. (SOURCE: National Parks Board)
An artist’s impression of the Dhoby Ghaut event space. (SOURCE: National Parks Board)

Orchard Road will undergo a major revamp in the coming years to try and turn the famous thoroughfare into a vibrant lifestyle destination offering more than just retail.

There are plans for sub-precincts along the 2.4km-long street, as well as pedestrianising a section of the road to link Istana Park, Dhoby Ghaut Green and the open space at Plaza Singapura.

The plans were unveiled by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and National Parks Board (NPB) on Wednesday (30 January), following a six-month study and consultations with stakeholders. There are two main thrusts:

  • The Lifestyle Destination, whereby Orchard Road will be divided into four sub-precincts – Tanglin, Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut – each offering various experiences.

  • Bring Back the Orchard, whereby Orchard Road is envisaged as a lush green urban corridor connecting two historical green spaces – Singapore Botanic Gardens and Fort Canning Park.

Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Co-Chair of the Ministerial Steering Committee for Orchard Road, said: “All cities have their own popular shopping streets and neighbourhoods. In Singapore, Orchard Road is our premier shopping district. But it is facing stiff competition from other cities, and has to adapt to rapidly changing retail trends.

“We have put together these ideas to illustrate the possibilities of making Orchard Road a place for all to experience and enjoy. Any changes will take time and will require actions from both the government and private sector. We will continue to take in feedback and suggestions, and work with all stakeholders to refine and progressively implement the plans to make Orchard Road a great street in our city.”

SOURCE: Urban Redevelopment Authority
SOURCE: Urban Redevelopment Authority

Four sub-precincts with differentiated experiences

Orchard Road’s four proposed sub-precincts will offer differentiated experiences such innovative retail concepts, attractions, entertainment and events. Side streets such as Killiney Road and Orchard Turn will also be enhanced.

  • Tanglin: This sub-precinct at the start of the road will become a mixed-use neighbourhood with a strong arts and artisanal flavour. The conserved Tudor Court can be redeveloped to house more arts, cultural and lifestyle offerings. Meanwhile, the upcoming Orchard Boulevard MRT Station will bring added convenience.

  • Orchard: The main shopping belt between Orchard and Somerset MRT stations will remain the retail heart of Singapore. The Orchard Road Business Association will start a one-year trial to bring in activities along the pedestrian mall, such as retail/food and beverage pop-ups, and arts and entertainment events. Future mixed-use developments will be built at the upcoming Orchard Interchange MRT Station. Elevated link bridges are planned to make it easier for visitors to cross the junction of Orchard and Paterson roads, as well as provide opportunities for a picturesque view of Orchard Road.

  • Somerset: Already known as a youth hub, the sub-precinct can be further enhanced with new lifestyle offerings catering to younger visitors. For instance, the Grange Road car park can be used as an event space, while the newly-opened Design Orchard can showcase home-grown brands amid its incubation spaces and rooftop amphitheatre. These new developments will be connected via sculptural canopies.

  • Dhoby Ghaut: This sub-precinct is envisaged as a family-friendly lifestyle zone, nestled in lush
    greenery. Existing green spaces can be linked up by pedestrianising a section of the road. More space will be available to create kids’ play areas and venues for festivals and fashion shows.

Bring back the Orchard

With Orchard Road’s origins as a nutmeg, clove and fruit orchard, there are plans to distinguish it from other international shopping streets by turning it into a lush green urban corridor. The surrounding streets can become a curated showcase of tropical trees and shrubs, while nutmeg and cloves can also be incorporated to draw back to Orchard Road’s origins.

Orchard Road is set to become an urban green corridor. (SOURCE: Urban Redevelopment Authority)
Orchard Road is set to become an urban green corridor. (SOURCE: Urban Redevelopment Authority)

Additionally, Istana Park can be rejuvenated with themed gardens depicting botanical and
horticultural traditions and practices seen throughout Singapore’s history.

Exhibition at Orchard Fountain Corner

The public can view these future plans for Orchard Road and share their feedback in an exhibition at Orchard Fountain Corner beside 313@Somerset from 30 January to 13 February. They can also visit ura.sg/orchardrd till 31 May.

Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry and Co-Chair of Ministerial Steering Committee for
Orchard Road, said, “Against the backdrop of increasing competition from other cities and the evolving retail landscape, Orchard Road has remained at the forefront of consumer trends to stay relevant to local and international visitors.

“This was made possible with the public and private sectors working together to bring in innovative concepts and exclusive retail offerings. We will continue our partnership with the private sector to develop Orchard Road as a vibrant lifestyle destination that offers an exceptional experience beyond retail.”

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