One-North

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Background

one-north is a 200-hectare (2 sq km) development in Buona Vista planned and developed by JTC Corporation.1 It combines educational institutes, residences and recreational amenities with research facilities to create a “work-live-play-learn” environment.2 The development – named one-north to reflect Singapore’s geographical location one-degree north of the equator – comprises Biopolis, Fusionopolis, Mediapolis, Wessex, one-north Park, Rochester Park, Pixel, Nepal Hill, Vista and JTC LaunchPad @ one-north.3 one-north aims to support the growth of Singapore’s biomedical sciences, infocommunications technology, media, physical sciences and engineering sectors.4  

Plans for a science hub at Buona Vista
The Singapore government’s plan for a science hub in the Buona Vista area was first announced on 15 September 1998 at TechVenture 98, a conference for technology startups.5 At the conference, then Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan revealed that Singapore would build a S$5-billion science hub as part of the government’s efforts to foster entrepreneurial high-tech businesses, and provide a conducive environment for start-ups.6 In a press briefing held on the same day, the head of the science hub’s steering committee and National Science and Technology Board (NSTB; now known as Agency for Science, Technology and Research, or A*STAR) chairman Teo Ming Kian estimated that the project would take up to 15 years to complete, with a total investment of between S$4 billion and S$5 billion.7


The science hub at Buona Vista was meant to be a self-contained focal point for research and development, and also provide residential and recreational facilities. The NSTB had envisioned it as a “vibrant area” where ideas and innovations could take place.8 In April 1999, the science hub became a key element of the government’s Technopreneurship 21 Initiative, which aimed to provide a facility for talent to congregate, and for technopreneurs to interact with one another.9

JTC involvement and initial stages
On 1 September 2000, Tan announced that Jurong Town Corporation (JTC, now known as JTC Corporation) was appointed the lead agency for the development of the Buona Vista science hub. He also announced that private developers would be invited to participate in the development.10

In June 2001, JTC launched Phase Z.Ro Technopreneur Park, the precursor to the science hub.11 Located near the Buona Vista MRT station, its 60 container units cost S$4 million to build.12 Its tenants mainly comprised local information technology firms with annual turnover of less than S$1 million.13 Phase Z.Ro was meant to help start-ups, act as a pilot project for development of the hub masterplan, and serve as JTC’s on-site office.14 Its container units were subsequently removed to make way for the science hub, and donated to Singapore Polytechnic in 2008.15

In June 2001, London-based Zaha Hadid Architects was appointed as masterplan consultant for the science hub project, with MVA Asia Ltd as transport consultant for the people-mover system.16 On 4 December the same year, the government unveiled the masterplan for the Buona Vista science hub project, now renamed one-north to reflect Singapore’s geographical position one-degree north of the equator. At the time, one-north was estimated to cost S$15 billion, span about 200 hectares, and be completed in phases over 15 to 20 years.17 Under the masterplan, one-north would focus on three industries – biomedical sciences, infocommunications and media, and financial and business services.18

Biopolis
Biopolis is the first sector of one-north to be developed, with its ground-breaking ceremony taking place on 6 December 2001.19 It was conceived as a biomedical research-and-development hub meant to encourage collaboration between major biotechnology companies and public research institutions.20

Phase one of Biopolis consisted of a S$500-million 185,000-square-metre seven-building complex linked by skybridges. Five of the seven buildings (Genome, Centros, Matrix, Nanos, and Proteos) were occupied by A*STAR. The other two buildings, Chromos and Helios, were earmarked for the private sector, with tenants such as the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases and ES Cell International Pte Ltd established by British scientist Alan Colman, who delivered the world’s first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, in 1996.21 It was officially opened by Tan on 29 October 2003.22


Phasetwo of development saw the completion of two research facilities – Neuros and Immunos. The 37,000-square-metre seven-storey complex, mainly housing private research institutes, officially opened on 30 October 2006.23

The third phase of Biopolis involved the construction of two additional buildings, Synapse and Amnios. They were both completed in 2010, and boosted Biopolis’s research space by another 41,000 sq m.24

The year 2013 marked Biopolis’s 10th anniversary as well as the completion of phases four and five.25 Phase four comprised Procter & Gamble’s 32,000-square-metre Singapore Innovation Centre, while phase five was a 46,000-square-metre development known as Nucleos, which is used for pre-clinical trials.26

Fusionopolis
Fusionopolis is the second facility of one-north to be developed. It was initially named Technopolis, but was renamed Fusionopolis in 2003.27 The new name reflects the site’s aim of encouraging the fusion of ideas from the arts, business and technology sectors.28

Under phase one of development, a two-tower podium complex,29 comprising buildings Connexis and Symbiosis, was completed. With a combined gross floor area of 120,000 sq m,30 the two buildings house institutes in the physical sciences, engineering and digital technology sectors as well as shops and apartments.31 Phase one was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 17 October 2008.32

Phase 2A of Fusionopolis consists of a mix of business and commercial office spaces.33 Its three buildings – Innovis, Kinesis and Synthesis – are expected to be completed in 2015.34


Phase 2B saw the completion of Solaris, a 16-storey multitenanted building for research and development in the infocommunications, media, science and engineering industries.35 Its ground-breaking ceremony was held on 27 June 2008, with completion in October 2010.36

Nexus@one-north, the third phase, was completed in September 2013. It is made up of two towers of six-storey office and business-park space, linked by a central plaza and skybridge. Nexus@one-north aims to cater to businesses in the media industry as well as research and development activities in the physical sciences and engineering sectors.37

Phase four of Fusionopolis, the Sandcrawler, officially opened on 16 January 2014. It houses the regional headquarters of Lucasfilm, and also serves as the regional headquarters for The Walt Disney Company and sports network ESPN Asia Pacific. The 22,500-square-metre seven-storey building also contains a 100-seat theatre.38

Galaxis, the fifth phase of Fusionopolis,39 was completed in late 2014.40 Consisting of a 17-storey building with a separate five-storey office block,41 Galaxis is a business space that integrates living and retail activities.42  

Mediapolis@one-north
43
The idea of a “mediapolis” at one-north was raised by the Economic Review Committee’s panel on creative industries in September 2002.44 On 10 December 2008, then Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lee Boon Yang announced that Mediapolis@one-north would begin development in early 2009.45


Mediapolis@one-north was envisioned as Singapore’s first digital media hub, with the infrastructure and technology to support media production, financing and distribution.46 Developed under the joint stewardship of JTC Corporation, Media Development Authority, Infocomm Development Authority and the Economic Development Board, 47 it is targeted to be fully completed in 2020.48

Singapore’s media company MediaCorp is slated to become one of the anchor tenants at Mediapolis, occupying a gross floor area of 79,500 sq m.49 It held a ground-breaking ceremony on 11 November 2011, and is expected to begin its move to Mediapolis in the latter half of 2015.50

Wessex Estate
JTC assumed ownership of Wessex Estate in late 2004. Wessex Estate is part of JTC’s plan to encourage people in the creative industries to live and work within one-north.51 Housing units in Wessex Estate consist of colonial walk-up apartments and semi-detached houses that have since been converted into work lofts, home offices and home studios.52

Wessex Village Square @ one-north was launched on 11 April 2008, providing a space for art exhibitions, music and dance performances as well as other arts events.53

one-north Park
The first public park in Singapore that provides wireless internet connectivity was launched on 23 February 2006. Known as one-north Park and located along North Buona Vista Road, it is also the first park where personal transporters such as the Segway could be used.54 The park is managed by the National Parks Board, with JTC Corporation providing funds for its maintenance.55 The 16-hectare park is a key component of the one-north masterplan, providing an ideal location for gatherings and events, as well as facilitating interactions among residents.56

Rochester Park
Opened in early 2006, Rochester Park is a dining and lifestyle retail area within one-north, consisting of 11 refurbished black-and-white colonial bungalows that have been converted into restaurants, cafes and retail outlets.57

Pixel
Pixel, a 0.5-hectare building within one-north, is home to specialised schools supporting the infocommunications technology and digital media industries.58 DigiPen Institute of Technology, an American computer animation and programming school, was officially launched at Pixel on 9 February 2007. It is the first institution in Singapore to offer specialised degree-level courses in games development.59

Nepal Hill
The plan to transform Nepal Hill into a regional centre for leadership training and a talent development hub was announced in early 2010.60 Known as the Leadership Initiatives, Networks, Knowledge (LINK), Nepal Hill was envisioned as a cluster dedicated to the research and development of leadership and human capital.61 The 16 pre-existing black-and-white bungalows at Nepal Hill were refurbished to accommodate new tenants.62 Nepal Hill’s first tenant is the Human Capital Leadership Institute, which moved into the premises in August 2010.63

Vista
The 17-hectare Vista is the corporate and business-support cluster of one-north. It comprises offices, hotels, shops, entertainment outlets as well as convention and corporate retreat facilities, and serves as a social gathering place and transport hub for workers and residents of one-north.64

Vista consists of The Rochester, The Star, Metropolis and Rochester Park 20.65 The Rochester, launched in 2011,66 is a mixed-used development consisting of a condominium, the Park Avenue Suites @ Rochester hotel and Rochester Mall.67

The Star, also a mixed-use development, consists of two components – The Star Vista retail mall and The Star Performing Arts Centre.68 The latter, located above the shopping centre, houses a 5,000-seat auditorium.69 The Star Vista and The Star Performing Arts Centre opened in September and November 2012 respectively.70

Metropolis, which opened in November 2014, consists of two office blocks and retail outlets.71


Rochester Park 20 is a 4.3-hectare site consisting of 20 colonial black-and-white bungalows. The site is earmarked for dining and lifestyle uses, and is also part of one-north’s leadership and training cluster.72

JTC LaunchPad @ one-north
The JTC LaunchPad @ one-north project was launched on 12 March 2014 by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck. It is a collaborative project between JTC Corporation, SPRING Singapore and other government agencies to expand the start-up cluster at one-north by providing a conducive and vibrant environment.73 The cluster comprises Block 71 at Ayer Rajah Crescent, two new blocks, 73 and 79, as well as amenities such as food outlets, collaboration spaces, meeting rooms and sports facilities.74 The expansion provided an additional 12,000 sq m of space for the start-up community, in addition to the pre-existing 16,000 sq m at Block 71.75 Touted as Singapore’s version of Silicon Valley, JTC LaunchPad @ one-north was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 23 January 2015.76




Author
Vina Jie-Min Prasad

 

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7 Holland Village Way #03-12 One Holland Village Singapore 275748

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