Grange Road carpark to transform into event space

Sat, Oct 05, 2019

THE open-air carpark in Grange Road will be turned into a permanent event space for pop-up events and entertainment, as part of government efforts to rejuvenate Orchard Road and encourage more activities outside of its shopping malls.

The 4,482 square metre carpark, operated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), will cease operations on Feb 29, 2019. It is one of three carparks in the Orchard area operated by the URA, with the other two at Angullia Park and Penang Road.

The URA, Singapore Land Authority and Singapore Tourism Board will launch a price and quality tender later this month to appoint an operator to transform the area into a "dedicated and dynamic event space with complementary commercial offerings", the agencies said in a statement on Oct 4.

A centrepiece of the Somerset area, it will host activities such as flea markets, pop-up attractions and food trucks, and serve as a public space on non-event days, the authorities said.

The use of state land such as open-air carparks in Grange Road and Angullia Park for ad hoc events was first mooted in 2017, along with other ideas to revive the shopping belt.

The Grange Road carpark has since hosted six events including the Flashbang street market, and will be one of the venues for this year's Great Christmas Village.

The appointment of an operator will provide for more regular activities, the agencies said. The successful bidder will manage and create programming for the site from March 1, 2019 for a tenure of three years, with the option to extend for another two terms.

The carpark's transformation will mark one of the first major changes to Orchard Road's physical landscape in the government's long-term plan to turn the stretch into a lifestyle destination and make it more pedestrian-friendly.

Plans to bring the buzz back to Singapore's premiere shopping belt amid competition from e-commerce and heartland malls were first announced in 2017 by then-Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran.

Rejuvenation plans were announced earlier this year, including different branding for the shopping belt's four sub-precincts, the construction of mixed-use developments on vacant parcels of state land along Orchard Boulevard and making part of the 2.4km street car-free to connect green spaces at the Istana Park, Dhoby Ghaut Green and the open space at Plaza Singapura.

Design Orchard, a retail and incubation space for local designers, was launched in January this year, while the Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) began a year-long trial in April to bring activities such as pop-ups and events to pedestrian walkways.

Orba's monthly night-time Night at Orchard event, launched in May, has helped to bring more local brands and night visitors to the area, Orba's executive director Steven Goh said at a press conference on Sept 25 on this year's Christmas light-up.