Woodlands Central …A sleepy hub no more
By 2017, Woodlands Central will be transformed into one of four new regional business hubs outside the city area. This move will help decentralise Singapore by preventing the city from being overly crowded. The target sector will be equipped with amenities ranging from retail and food complex, commercial schools to supermarkets. Part of the reason for this development is also to help many of the households and business affected by the relocation due to the en bloc exercise carried out at the Woodlands Centre Road. This strategic step will inconvenience and displace 200 businesses and 75 hawker stalls.
The $31.1million project is envisioned to be developed at the open space beside Woodlands Sports Hall which is bounded by Woodlands Street 12.
It is understood that the development is a joint project which consists of the National Environment Agency(NEA), and the Housing Development Board(HDB). The combine efforts are aimed to increase and support future traffic into the location.
The transformation would include a hawker center with 80 cooked food stalls, 60 retail shops, 5 commercial schools, a supermarket and approximately 200 parking spaces. In addition, future plans to widen Woodlands Street 12 and to add a new slip road from the street into Woodlands Avenue 3 is well under consideration.
By 2016, six blocks in the area will be relocated under the Selective EnBloc Redevelopment scheme to replacement flats in Woodlands drive 70. Affecting some 147 households, 200 business in rental shops and 78 hawker stalls.
The announcement of the relocation exercise by HDB sparked plans for the demand of a new hub in Woodlands Central to ensure there is sufficient cooked food stalls in the area.
Currently, the nearest NEA-managed hawker center in Woodlands is located at Blk 20 Marsiling Lane.
It is foreseen that the future demand for food options will further increase once the Woodlands Regional Center is materialized by occupying some 30ha area around Woodlands MRT station and Causeway Point Mall, keeping in the mind the additional traffic Woodlands MRT station would likely generate once the new Thomson Line interlinks the North-South Line in 2019.
Residents are hopeful that the upcoming development would alleviate some of the existing problems such as road congestions in the area and the lack of food stalls near the sport complexes.
By having an additional hub outside the city, it aims to ease the pressure of the existing crowded Central Business District by redirecting foot traffic in providing alternative food and retail options up in the northern part of Singapore.
The revamp of the Woodlands Regional Centre will definitely benefit companies planning to operate businesses in Iskandar, Johore. Improved connectivity between Johore and Woodlands; and also between Woodlands and the Central Business District with the new Thomson Line ready by 2019 and the upcoming North-South Expressway, would prove a boon to both businesses and residents.