Published December 15, 2006

Call for first public tender on Pulau Ubin
Govt approves recreational uses for former govt chalet site


CHANGES are afoot on rustic Pulau Ubin as the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) calls for its first tender for state property on the island.

Idyllic escape: The SLA believes that the site will allow tenants to offer a unique bucolic experience for both tourists and locals

The property, which used to be a Civil Service College chalet, has a site area of 70,019 sq ft and a gross floor area of 8,428 sq ft comprising three blocks of single storey buildings with a camp, pump house, three shelters and some ancillary facilities.

Approved uses for the site include as a Bed and Breakfast operation, or as a chalet or resort for short term lodging. It may also be used as a campsite for group and corporate retreats or team building, leadership or motivational activities. The tenure is for a three-year term extendable for another two three-year terms till 2016.

The SLA believes that the site will allow tenants to offer a unique bucolic experience for both tourists and locals.

'We encourage businessmen to take full advantage of this idyllic seaside property to develop signature projects so as to provide citizens and tourists unique island getaway experiences,' said a director at SLA.

The SLA has no plans for further tenders on Pulau Ubin at the moment.

Response has been good according to the SLA. There are six potential tenants with a variety of concepts. One potential bidder who declined to be named saw an opportunity to leverage on an existing business in educating students and exposing them to nature. Meanwhile, Ryal Wun wants a chance to promote a Garden of Eden in Singapore. He is working in partnership with several organisations with environmental interests at heart. He told BT they see possibilities in educating kids about nature and in a sanctuary for promoting holistic well-being for adults.

Being the first such tender, market watchers were reluctant to offer a price range. Savills director Ku Swee Yong, however, said that while it was 'good to see' it happening, steps should be taken to ensure the tender price does not reach such a level that it makes running a business unviable. He saw potential for a business that could support the Mice segment of the tourism market when the integrated resorts open. Dr Wun, meanwhile, expressed hope that the winning bid would not be based on price alone but on the value-add the business could bring.