SINGAPORE — Some 730 Housing Board core store owners whose 30-year leases are about to expire will be allowed to extend them for at least a year, during which time they can develop new business plans or bid for a new lease.
They had bought the outlets in the 1990s before the economic downturn of 1998. The HDB, which has 15,200 stores here, has since leased stores for three years in a row.
It will contact tenants whose leases expire well in advance to advise them on their options, National Development Minister Desmond Lee said at the Heartlands festival in Punggol on Saturday.
The shorter lease period helps authorities ensure that the commercial makeup of an area can be continually renewed to meet the rapidly changing needs of the community, he added.
Tenancy will be granted based on an updated set of guidelines that place more emphasis on the value potential tenants can bring to a neighborhood rather than the highest bid, Lee said.
In updates to the Quality-Price Method (PQM) for finding new tenants, the HDB said it would reduce the weighting given to price offered to 40%, giving a higher weighting of 60% to quality of the applicant’s proposal.
Affordability of goods and services will also be a priority, especially for supermarkets, convenience stores and cafes. Companies with strong local experience and heritage value will also be considered. “It will help us create more vibrant, inclusive and distinctive shopping areas,” Mr. Lee said.
“For example, affordability may be included as an important criteria in our store offerings, so that we ensure that food and other necessities continue to be affordable for our core inhabitants and that we do not We don’t allocate our stores based solely on the highest rental bid offered.”
The announcements come after the results of the Heartlands Shops study by the HDB and Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) were released on Saturday.
Some 2,800 traders, residents and trade associations were interviewed.
Seven in 10 residents said downtown stores provide more affordable goods and services and help lower the cost of living. Most also considered the shops to be part of Singapore’s heritage.
Among the top eight trades that should be relevant among heart stores are restaurants, healthcare, markets, salons and household care.