26 August 2010

Singapore Sports Hub to open by April 2014

Sports Hub to open by April 2014@CNA

SINGAPORE: After being stalled for nearly two years due to the global financial downturn, the Sports Hub project will finally kick into gear.

On Wednesday, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) signed the contract with the Singapore Sports Hub Consortium to design, build, finance and operate the Sports Hub for the next 25 years on a 35-hectare site in Kallang.

Demolition of the National Stadium, which sits on the site, will begin in October, and the new facility will open its doors by April 2014.

The final construction cost is estimated to be $1.33 billion - which the Government will pay in annual payments.

No financing details were available following the midnight announcement.

"I am glad that we are ready to start construction of the Singapore Sports Hub," said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, in a statement.

"It will be a fully integrated sports, leisure, entertainment and lifestyle hub for world-class events and community activities. The facilities will be accessible to the public and to top athletes to train and compete in. As part of the Greater Marina Bay masterplan, the Singapore Sports Hub will also contribute to the larger Government objective of re-positioning Singapore as a great place to work, live and play," he said.

When completed, the Sports Hub will include a 55,000-seat National Stadium with a retractable roof, a 6,000-seat indoor aquatics arena, about 41,000 square metres of business, commercial and retail space, and a sports institute.

Two new features of the Sports Hub are a bowl-cooling system and retractable seats for the main stadium.

The bowl cooling system features blowing treated air from chillers through holes in the tier below each seat.

There will also be a sports library and sports museum, as well as other amenities including a volleyball court, rock-climbing wall, hard courts, a skate park and state-of-the-art training and sports recovery facilities, among others.

The Sports Hub will also strive to attract live entertainment events, conventions and exhibitions, while 80 corporate boxes will be available for lease during major sporting events.

The deal between the Singapore Government and the consortium is the largest sports infrastructure public-private-partnership project in the world.

Sports Hub deal sealed@Straits Times

PEN was put to paper yesterday on the contract that will pave the way for the construction of the Sports Hub.

Demolition of the National Stadium will begin by October, with the new 35ha facility catering to both sports and non-sports enthusiasts to open its doors by April 2014, the Singapore Sports Council said in a press statement early this morning.

The centrepiece remains a new 55,000-seater stadium with a retractable roof, with other highlights including a 6,000-capacity indoor Aquatic Centre, a water sports centre, and 41,000 sq m of commercial space.

But several features not in the initial proposal by a private consortium tasked to build the world-class project have been added. They include a beach volleyball court and rock climbing wall.

The construction cost is $1.33 billion. This does not include the costs of operating the facility.

Under the agreed public-private-partnership (PPP) scheme, the winning consortium Singapore Sports Hub Consortium (SSHC) will bear the cost of constructing and operating the Sports Hub. The Government will, however, make an annual payment to SSHC over 25 years.

The new cost announced is higher than the $1.2 billion estimated in 2008.

'I am glad that we are ready to start construction of the Singapore Sports Hub,' the statement quoted Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan as saying.

'It will be a fully integrated sports, leisure, entertainment and lifestyle hub for world class events and community activities.

'As part of the Greater Marina Bay masterplan, the Singapore Sports Hub will also contribute to the larger government objective of repositioning Singapore as a great place to work, live and play,' he added.

Since its announcement, the Sports Hub has been dogged by repeated delays and been a magnet for criticism. Its completion date was pushed back from this year to next year, 2012 and then 2013.

After the SSHC beat two other groups to be named the project's preferred bidder in January 2008, it struggled to raise financing for construction to begin due to the recession.

Mr Ludwig Reichhold, the managing director of Dragages Singapore which heads the SSHC, said: 'We are ready to go full swing.'

Other members of the consortium include United Premas, a facilities management company, and events management firm World Sport Group.

It is understood that while $1.87 billion was the initial cost to the Government over the 25-year period for the contract with the SSHC, this figure will now change as there have been tweaks to the financing terms.

Under the PPP scheme, SSHC is in charge of designing, financing, building and operating the hub.

Events such as the Asean Football League and Twenty20 cricket matches are among the high-profile events being planned to ensure it remains a vibrant year-round destination.

Singapore Rugby Union president Low Teo Ping, who had been among those eagerly awaiting the hub's completion, said: 'Now we can try to bid to get the highly successful Rugby 7s series back.

'With the sport making its debut at the 2016 Olympics, we could see qualifying matches for the Rio Games played here too from 2014 onwards.'

The Sports Hub's completion will also allow the Republic to host a major Games like the South-east Asia Games.

It had given up hosting rights for the 2013 edition as the Hub could not be completed in time. Cambodia are the front runners for the 2015 SEA Games, though no country has been picked yet.

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