Gillman Barracks to be studied as a residential area; 10,000 new homes in Yishun planned

The first public housing project in the Chencharu district of Yishun will be launched in 2024. After 2030, the art enclave Gillman Barracks could be transformed into a residential area with both private and public housing. This is expected to generate a strong demand for new homes at this central location.

Desmond Lee, Minister of National Development and Housing, spoke Tuesday (5 Mar) during the Committee of Supply Debate of his ministry.

In June 2024, the first Build-to-Order project in Chencharu will launch. The 1,270 units will include two-room flexible, three-, four-, and five room flats and will be located on Sembawang Road.

The BTO project can be found just a few meters from the Orto Leisure Park, which was relocated at 27 West Coast Highway in Haw Par Villa.

Nicholas Mak, chief research officer at, stated that the last BTO project to be launched in Yishun would have been in November 2022. The response was “lukewarm”, as 4,453 applicants vied for 2,994 apartments across three projects in Yishun that were released for sale.

Mak stated that the upcoming project in Chencharu might be more popular due to its close proximity to Khatib MRT Station.

The government is looking at the possibility of creating a new neighbourhood in Gillman Barracks that would include both public and private flats.

Lee noted that Gillman Barracks is a historic site with colonial military structures. The new neighbourhood will allow Singaporeans to be closer to the centre of the city, while also preserving the charm and character of the colonial-era buildings.

lakegarden residences condo

The minister also added that residents will have easy access green and recreational areas, including the Southern Ridges and Labrador Nature Park Network.

Gillman Barracks, which is primarily zoned as “Reserve Site”, is currently occupied with offices, food and drink outlets, lifestyle spaces, and art galleries. The tenancies of these businesses will gradually expire in 2030.

Environmental and heritage studies are expected to begin in the second half of 2024 and be completed around the first halves of 2026.

If Gillman Barracks becomes a housing development, the demand for private and public housing is likely to be strong.

He said that the last BTO sale in Telok Blangah was held in May 2021, when 175 units attracted 4,078 applicants, with a rate of application of 23.3%.

According to Christine Sun, OrangeTee Group’s chief researcher, the median price of condo units sold in the vicinity Gillman Barracks ranged between S$1,576 per square foot and S$2,191 per square foot in Q4 of 2023.

In central Singapore, new homes will be built in areas such as Turf City, Mount Pleasant, Pearl’s Hill and the former Keppel Golf Course. The government also releases land for redevelopment through other means, like the relocation of Paya Lebar Air Base.

The government launched 67,000 HDB apartments in February of this year. This is two-thirds its target to launch 100,000 HDB flats by the end of 2025.

The private housing market has also seen a significant increase. In 2023, 9,250 units will be launched as part of the Government Land Sales programme (GLS), the largest annual supply for the past 10 years. The H1 confirmed list for 2024 will provide another 5,450 private houses.

Rents and HDB prices have both stabilised in 2023. Rents in public housing increased by only 0.4% in Q4 2023 (down from 1.9% in Q3), while rents in private housing fell by 2.1% quarter-on-quarter in the last quarter of 2023.

BTO application rates dropped from a peak of 5,8 applications per apartment in 2020 to just 2.9 applications last year. The private housing market’s transaction volume fell by 13% from 2022 to 2023, its lowest level since 2016.

In addition to plans for more housing, the government will activate, curate and create networks of recreational spaces throughout the island that incorporate sports, arts and culture, nature, heritage, and wellness. The recreational spaces will be connected by cycling and pedestrian paths, as well as connectors for parks.

Indranee responded to a question posed on behalf of MP Nadia Ahmad Samdin, (Ang Mo Kio GRC), on the impact the upcoming Long Island Project will have on marine life. She said that the environmental studies would consider the surrounding marine habitats like intertidal mudflats and coral communities.

Long Island will be created by the government after reclaiming about 800 hectares off East Coast. Indranee stated that agencies will look at nature-based solutions in order to minimize the environmental impact.

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