Saturday, November 03, 2007

Conservation and Destruction

En Bloc fever is raging in the small little corner of Singapore around Amber Road, Katong. New condominiums are replacing old (20-40 year old?)properties. "Seaview" has replaced the old Seaview hotel. "One Amber" and "Esta" replaced the old Maryland Park. Amberville too is being torn down. Rose Garden, Paramount Hotel, are on offer; Amber Park has the 80% required for the site to be offered for sale. King's Mansion is said to be on the way out. And 2 more smaller sites are being built up now. Thus we will see the transformation of Amber Road. It used to be a charming place to live, but it is certainly not too pleasant now with all the construction going on.

Now most of the buildings being torn down are fundamentally sound. So it is ironic that some near ruins are being "preserved" for posterity. The former Grand Hotel on Still Road is a conservation building. Built in 1917, it was indeed a beautiful, stately building (see the URA walking guide link for more information). There are two main buildings, one on either side of Still Road. The first was operating as a hotel for many years, it has only recently been turned into what I understand is a storage area. The second is deserted and has been for years. It is practically a ruin. I really can't see anyone investing the money needed to make it habitable, far less restoring it to its former glory. The only way would be for the adjoining plot to be sold off together with this building for a condominium development and then some of the profits could be used to restore the house.

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