Eye on Tanjong Pagar: From shophouses to summits

While it is better known as part of the central business district (CBD), Tanjong Pagar is not without its private and public residential areas and other fascinating places of interest. The area generally centres around Neil Road, Maxwell Road, Peck Seah Street, Wallich Street, Tanjong Pagar Road and Craig Road.

Tanjong Pagar Plaza, Spottiswoode Park, and Everton Park are HDB estates nestled within Tanjong Pagar, each with its own identity and memories for residents. In fact, local writer Desmond Ong wrote a story in the popular Balik Kampung anthology series based on his experience growing up in the Spottiswoode Park estate near the former Tanjong Pagar railway station.

Meanwhile, the Everton Park estate is known for the emergence of cafes in the area. Located off Neil Road, a number of new eateries have mushroomed in the area lately such as Nylon Coffee Roasters, Batterworks, The Audacious Cakery, Cozy Corner Coffee, A Grin Affair, and Just Want Coffee.

The area provides these businesses tranquil venue anyway from the city but yet still centrally located and within reach.

For instance, gourmet eatery The Provision Shop, managed by Unlisted Collection, opened in October 2013 and established itself at Block 3 Everton Park. Mae Noor, Head of Marketing at Unlisted Collection said, “The Provision Shop is our first venture right into the heartlands, and under an HDB block to be precise! It was something we find untapped in that area. Unlike the hive of activity with restaurants and bars in nearby Keong Saik Road, The Provision Shop appeals more to the folks who would like to grab a quick meal before heading home, or even just relax with a cup of coffee and dessert slightly away from the buzz.”

The zenith of Tanjong Pagar

While the older HDB estates there are charming in their own ways, Tanjong Pagar’s most famous HDB project is undoubtedly the Pinnacle @ Duxton.

Completed in 2009, Pinnacle @ Duxton has 1,848 units in seven towers which are 50 storeys high, making it the tallest public housing project in the world. Recently, the media reported two units in the estate were sold for $900,000 and $918,000. This comes after the homeowners had fulfilled the five-year minimum occupation period which ended in December 2014.

Another estate with an interesting history is the two blocks of flats at Spooner Road which previously housed the railway staff from the Tanjong Pagar railway station. After the railway services were terminated, the blocks were spruced up with a fresh coat of paint, new toilet fittings, electrical re-wiring and appropriate repairs. With more than 300 units, the one and two-room flats were set aside for lower income families under HDB’s Public Rental Scheme, while the three-room flats were made available under the Interim Rental Housing programme.

There are also a number of private homes and apartments in Tanjong Pagar such as Spottiswoode Residences, Craig Place, The Beacon and The Arris.

Some of the upcoming projects there include Skysuites @ Anson, Spottiswoode Suites, ONZE @ Tanjong Pagar, Spottiswoode 18, Clermont Residence and the SOHO development PS100.

Higher aspirations

The tallest building in Singapore will soon be in Tanjong Pagar in 2016. At 290 metres, the upcoming Tanjong Pagar Centre is currently being built on top of Tanjong Pagar MRT station and it will hold offices, Clermont Residence, a luxury business hotel, retail and F&B space as well as the Urban Park.

Other places of interest in Tanjong Pagar include the Red Dot Design Museum Singapore at Maxwell Road which features the latest trends in the international design scene, with a collection of more than 1,000 exhibits on product and communication design.

Another interesting gallery of a different kind is the Singapore City Gallery at The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Centre which has various architectural models and exhibits including an Islandwide Model representing the whole of Singapore, and showcasing almost every building in the city-state. Visitors can also view the Panoramic Cityscape of Singapore by Stephen Wiltshire, the world renowned British artist who drew the Singapore cityscape from memory in July 2014.
Tanjong Pagar is also home to the former Tanjong Pagar railway station which has been preserved as a National Monument. It remains closed for the time being as the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) is carrying out maintenance works and structural inspection.

Noticeable landmarks

Another landmark in Tanjong Pagar which would be hard to miss is the Jinrikisha Station which used to be the gathering point for rickshaw operators in Singapore. In the 1980s, it was included as part of the Tanjong Pagar conservation area.

Tanjong Pagar received conservation status in July 1989 and the first urban restoration project carried out by the URA was at 9 Neil Road.

Besides heritage, Tanjong Pagar is not short on nature and greenery with the presence of Duxton Plain Park, Spottiswoode Park and the Vanda Miss Joaquim Park. Interestingly, there are five Heritage Trees in Duxton Plain Park and Spottiswoode Park.

Tanjong Pagar is set for an exciting future as there are plenty of redevelopment opportunities there. The planned relocation of the Tanjong Pagar, Keppel and Brani terminals to Tuas in 2027 will free up 600 hectares of waterfront land, and the URA Master Plan 2014 states “a new reservoir could be created between Tanjong Pagar and Pulau Brani to retain rainwater from the Greater Southern Waterfront and to store excess water from Marina Reservoir that is currently discharged into the sea”.

With these possible plans, Tanjong Pagar may just set the tone for the new Singapore skyline in a decade from now or so.