by Cheryl Tay Guests of two upcoming hotels in Balestier will be able to visit the adjacent 0.46 ha Zhongshan Park (pictured). The project is expected to boost tourism, being the first hotel-park development in Singapore.
The park, which opened in July, is located between Ramada Singapore and Days Hotel Singapore. It is also situated near the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, a national monument dedicated to the revolutionary leader of the Kuomintang.
Previously, Dr Sun had used the memorial hall as the Southeast Asian headquarters of his Chinese Revolutionary Alliance. In 2008, the URA sold the plot in a bid to preserve Balestier's significance in Chinese history. The buyer was required to develop the park along with other projects like hotels, offices and shops.
The plot was sold to HH Properties for S$73.3 million. In January 2010, the company engaged the Wyndham Hotel Group to bring in the two hotels, Ramada Singapore and Days Hotel Singapore.
Taking up 60 percent of the development, Days is set to be completed by Q1 2013, complete with retail components, while Ramada, along with the office space, will be ready four to six months later.
Aside from Chinese architectural influences, Zhongshan Park also has banyan trees, a reflective pond, stone sculptures from the memorial hall and eight granite floor markers, symbolic of Dr Sun's eight visits.
The URA hopes that the Balestier park and memorial hall will attract local and foreign visitors with its rich cultural heritage.
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