Sun 29 Jun 2003
Category : Commentary/shentonway.txt
I never thought I would enjoy working inside Singapore's financial district quite so much. I've always leaned towards what they used to call the "counter-culture". Shenton Way was, for me, white shirts, blue ties and dark blue pants - IBM - while I was Mac, birkenstock and chinos and all.
So when a client of ours moved to Shenton Way, and we had to follow (I was like their IT manager), I sniffed the air, thinking I'd soon be out of here. Little did I know I'd soon grow to like it, so much so that we got ourselves a unit in the same building as our client.
It may not be apparent at first blush, but there's a laid-back air around here, too. Come early and enjoy a good olde English breakfast at the Sandwich Shop at Robinson Road (which, incidentally, offers a free wireless network). Or food from a dozen ethnic origins at the old market (Lau Pa Sat). Or a cup of latte at Bratislava, next to the MPH bookstore.
I can look out our window at the gleaming SGX building across the road, where IBM used to work out from (in a building since demolished called Shing Kwang House) Life is coming back to this old place. But I think, this time, it's going to be different. It's going to be a lot more fun than it ever was, judging by URA's plans for the area.
The plans call for more mix developments - more residences, studios, home offices, lofts, mega shopping and entertainment complex, and even our own Central Park, a wide swathe of green leading back from the Central Promontory at Marina Bay.
Then there are the plans for the Marina Bayfront, which are modelled along Sydney's The Rocks area and Boston's Quincy Market.
Li Ka Shing's mega complex at One Raffles Quay, to be completed in a couple of years, is just the start of a long building boom. It's sprouting out from Shenton Way and will make its way around the bay to meet the Bayfront developments.
I'm trying to project five, ten years into the future, and I think city living is going to be a lot more vibrant than you can ever imagine it to be now. In fact, I can see myself shifting our home here too, and it may just work out great.