Holland Village is identified by The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) as one of Singapore’s endearing Identity Nodes and a distinctive lifestyle destination. URA then hatched a plan for a new Holland Village extension to the existing Holland Village.
The Winning Bid
In May 2018, in a dual-envelope (concept and price) tender process, URA awarded the project for the commercial and residential site at Holland Road to the consortium of Far East Organisation, Sinoland, and Sekisui House through their tenderer Stirling Land Holdings and company. The winning bid was $1.213 billion or nearly $1,888 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr).
The Future Development
The project will take as long as seven years to complete. The 22,967.0 m2 site will be a mixed development with a GFA of 59,715 m2 (Retail: 13,500 m2). The number of housing units will be capped at 570.
The future development will include a series of public spaces which will have three zones.
Firstly, a Commons Square which can hold events such as weekend markets and outdoor performances.
Secondly, a Communal Green, which is a courtyard flanked by shops leading to a water court and a terraced water feature.
And thirdly, a Pocket Park, which opens into Lorong Mambong in Holland Village.
A series of open walkways will connect these public spaces to the surrounding areas. Through street-paving design, the existing Lorong Liput and Lorong Mambong will be linked to the future extension, creating a consistent and distinctive streetscape for a grander Holland Village precinct.
The Negative Impact
In the short term, businesses at Holland Village will be and have already been adversely affected. The diversion and shortage of parking lots have turned many Holland Village-lovers away because of the inconvenience. Somehow the MRT didn’t help.
Just recently I went to Lorong Mambong on a Saturday night, and the crowd was not like before. Wala Wala and Harry’s Bar were surprising just over half filled. Haagen Dazs and Kinara were so freaking empty. I saw a “FOR RENT” sign hanging on the door of a premium-located shop. Also, there was another shop that was in the process of changing hands.
The Positive Outcome
In spite of the short-term pain, Holland Village hopefully will restore its former glory in the years to come when the new extension comes to fruition, and perhaps even to greater glory.
It is not the first time businesses were severely affected in Holland Village. I remember how bad it was during the SARS epidemic in 2003. I can also recall the lean years when the Holland Village MRT station was under construction. Then, car parks were closed, and the roads were messy. When everything was over, slowly but surely, Holland Village recovers.
This time, the pain will be longer. It will likely be a 7-year painful growth process. Will it be a case of “no pains, no gains”?
Growth In Residential Base
On a brighter note, several new condo launches such as One Holland Village by Far East will breed close to 600 new homes; the nearby Van Holland (former Toho Mansion) by Koh Brothers another 100. So, there will be more residents in the heart of Holland Village.
I anticipate most of these new condos will be small units that appeal to investors. What used to be family-based homes will become homes for young singles and couples, both expatriates and locals. This profile perfectly matches those who would hang out at Holland Village. This strong base of residents should result in a high footfall to Holland Village.
Logically the new retail shops and eateries should add more buzz to the original Holland Village. The whole landscape should enhance the feel of this entire enclave, hopefully without sacrificing the ‘bohemian’ character of Holland Village.
Will Holland Village Lose Its Appeal?
But the big question is with Holland V 2.0, will Holland V 1.0 lose its appeal? Will over-commercialisation lead to its demise.
New and modern designs are not necessarily good. Look at Dempsey Hill. Why the huge draw? Part of it is the all-day free parking. But the biggest reason is the charm of the rustic army barracks. Sometimes old is better.
Hopefully, Holland V will not lose its quaint charm when it finds itself surrounded by new high-rise condominiums, posh retail shops and upscale eateries.
My greatest hope is, the Village will always remain a village.
Danny Han is a licensed property agent since 2005.
As a kampong (village) boy growing up in Holland Village, he has so many fond memories. He grew up with pigsty (yuk!), cemetery, swamp and communal-living (with 10 families under one roof). His childhood games were gasing (spinning top), marbles, kites, spider-fighting and tree-climbing. An open-air cinema was his source of entertainment. 7th-month Hungry Ghost wayang (Chinese opera) and getai (concert) was a once-a-year event that brought the entire village together.
What Danny is passionate about is not just about showing clients properties around Holland Village, but also enjoys sharing anecdotes and nuggets of information that are part of his growing up years.
Danny is an avid hiker and passionate foodie. He has covered most of the nature trails in Singapore, including some that are off the beaten track. Living up to his motto, “walk to eat,” he enjoys going out with his wife, a retired academician, on a food hunt across the island. He also has some foodie kakis who mix work with food. They then share their gastronomic experiences through food blogs. So do watch out, because every time he shows you a property, he will tell you what is the best food nearby!
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