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Old July 10th, 2008, 05:42 AM   #1
RafflesCity
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Bukit Timah Fire Station

New use for old fire station

10 Jul 08

Bukit Timah Fire Station wakes up from a three-year slumber to a vibrant new lease on life





COME September, the former Bukit Timah Fire Station will be transformed into a bustling centre for education, the arts as well as sports and adventure.
Built in 1956, the state-owned building in Upper Bukit Timah Road with its distinctive red doors has been vacant since April 2005.

Spectra Investment, a property investment arm of CreativeBITS, which runs classes on new media such as web design, animation and digital video production in schools, signed a three-year lease on the property. The lease is renewable till 2015.

Besides CreativeBITS, four other tenants have confirmed they are taking up space in the seven blocks of three-storey shophouses which used to house firemen and their families.

They comprise a music school, an organic ice cream cafe, a restaurant and EduPlus Media, a company that conducts Chinese language enrichment classes. CreativeBITS is talking to other potential tenants.

Mr Chia Sheh Meng, programme director of CreativeBITS, said the 87,499 sq ft site is a dream come true. It plans to run classes seven days a week.

'We've been conducting courses in more than 120 government schools in Singapore and many parents have expressed interest in weekends and holiday programmes with us. Now that we have found this place, the wait is finally over,' he said.

The transformation will not rob the building of its old-school charm though.

Although the building has not been gazetted for conservation, the facade will be preserved.

Sliding timber doors, glazed louvred vents, glazed panels and brickwall are just some of the 1950s architectural details that will be retained.

Indeed, it is the rich history of the station which has attracted some of the tenants.

Mr Javier Perez, partner and operator of Raw, a restaurant which will serve a blend of Japanese and Italian food, said: 'A lot of restaurants are in shopping centres. This place has charm because it used to be a fire station. It is perfect for the laid-back, cosy atmosphere we want to create with our restaurant.'

The station, which overlooks the lush greenery of the Bukit Timah Fire Reserve, also attracted The Eighth Note Music School, which plans to run music classes such as in guitar, percussion and vocal training.

Mr Chia said he intends to sign up five to 10 more tenants, a fine arts studio, sports and adventure group, and fashion and photography studios.



By Benita Aw Yeong
Straits Times
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