Media 2012

Media Articles  - 2012

 


 

Speech by Minister of State Tan Chuan-Jin at the Market Street Office Tower Groundbreaking Ceremony

Date: 6 Febuary 2012

Source: MND Newsroom

His Excellency Yoichi Suzuki
Ambassador of Japan to Singapore

Mr Liew Mun Leong
President and CEO of CapitaLand Group

Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning. I am very delighted to join you for the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Market Street office tower.

An Exemplary New Development in our City Centre

Over the last forty years, Singapore has transformed into a leading financial and business hub in Asia. We are located in a very good spot, at the heart of a dynamic and growing region. To ensure that we continue to thrive, there are many things that we need to do. Companies are here in Singapore for many reasons. Having a stable, effective, clean Government plays a very important role. Having a thriving community makes a lot of difference. The efforts to constantly rejuvenate our city centre to attract fresh talent, capital and businesses makes a lot of difference as well. It is still very important for us to remember that the bottomline is not about the numbers, it is not about the companies that are here. But ultimately, it is about being able to provide jobs for Singaporeans, to enable us, as the Government to provide for our people across the various sectors and lay a strong foundation for our children’s futures. Because otherwise, buildings are just businesses, they are just opportunities to make money. But eventually, all the dots must connect to a bigger picture. And ultimately, how it will benefit and make life better for all Singaporeans.

The new Market Street office tower is one example of our rejuvenation efforts. When the 40-storey tower is completed by 2014, it will provide about 700,000 square feet worth of Grade ‘A’ office space in our Central Business District. Those who work in this tower will be well served by public transport. Besides the East-West line, trains from two more Rapid Transit System lines will stop at stations within walking distance from this tower.

This office tower presents fresh opportunities to develop a city centre which is at the cutting edge of sustainable design. It is a green building, both physically and environmentally. I am pleased that the joint developers, namely, CapitaLand Group, CapitaCommercial Trust and Mitsubishi Estate Asia, fully support the Government’s initiatives to improve energy efficiency in our buildings, and enhance greenery in Singapore. Let me elaborate.

Green and Eco-Friendly

This office tower, will have the distinctive crown of a ‘Sky Forest’ – a roof garden and a wall all planted with trees and vegetation. Can we imagine, in future, with many more such buildings in the city and around Singapore or of similar design? With greenery not only in and around us on the ground but up above us at various heights as well? It will be quite an incredible experience and incredible sight! And in Singapore, this is something that we can make it happen. Not only will it be quite beautiful, it will also reduce the ambient temperatures around us. Can you imagine us being able to bring down temperature by a few notches? For the building itself, the garden also acts as an insulator by absorbing heat, thus reducing the energy needed to cool the building.

Given our space constraints, there will always be tensions between development and environment. But there is no reason why we cannot develop our buildings and establishments as sensitively as we can. Singapore has become greener over the years and such sky rise greenery will play an important part in our landscape. I would like to encourage all developers to place emphases on these considerations as all of you can all make a significant contribution to the living space that we all share.

The greenery on this office tower is another step in growing Singapore to become a City in a Garden. I think the word in itself says a lot. It is a city located in the midst of a garden. It is not just about having more trees on the roadside, or having more parks and we are developing more of them. It is also about how the lush and pervasive greenery creeps up from the streets, up the buildings, into the buildings, and all the way up to the very top. Imagine working, living and playing in an environment such as this. That is our vision and I thank you for taking one more important step towards it, and I believe there will be many more such steps in future.

This building is also environmentally green by design. CapitaLand and its partners have set for themselves the goal of going way beyond minimum standards to achieve the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark Platinum award. This is the highest Green Mark rating given by the BCA to developers who meet stringent criteria in various aspects of environmental sustainability. Besides this office tower, I understand that CapitaLand manages another property nearby, at Six Battery Road, which became the first operating office building in the CBD to achieve the Green Mark Platinum standard in 2010.

Developers Must Take the Lead

I am glad that CapitaLand and other progressive developers have set their hearts and minds to be at the forefront of the green building movement in Singapore. It is really not about winning more and higher Green Mark awards. More importantly, as part of the global community, we share an obligation to mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce our carbon emissions. Everyone, from the Government to the corporations, to the men in the street, has a role to play, whether big or small. Developers who go green demonstrate their corporate social responsibility toward protecting our environment.

But going green does not mean you necessarily hurt the bottom line. In fact, a green building uses less energy, and can enjoy considerable savings in utilities bills. Studies have also shown that green buildings can command a higher capital value and rental premium. Being green can also make good business sense. Indeed, I believe that developers can and should play a leading role in this movement. What the Government can and will continue to do, is to facilitate and support such efforts. For instance, NParks provides funding support through its $6 million Skyrise Greenery Incentive Scheme (SGIS), to building owners to green their rooftops and building facades. To date, this scheme has contributed to some 36 hectares of skyrise greenery around Singapore. BCA also has a Green Mark Gross Floor Area Incentive Scheme to encourage new developments to achieve higher standards in environmental sustainability and energy efficiency than the minimum Green Mark standards.

Conclusion

Today is “Chap Goh Mei”, or the 15th day of the lunar new year. It is customary during the lunar new year for lion dances to perform “cai qing” (采青). This literally means “picking the green”, which ushers in prosperity and good fortune for all. I cannot think of a more apt activity to symbolise our aim of “picking the green” together.

So let us all, Government, developers and stakeholders alike, come together. What we are trying to do is to grow a city... and in fact, I think what we are really trying to do, coming together, is not just to grow a city, but to build a home amidst a lush and verdant garden, called Singapore. So with that, I wish all of you the very best in this new year.

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