Tweaks made to dementia village tender to draw more bidders

The tender for the 30-year use of 10 bungalows in Gibraltar Crescent (above) for a dementia care village was called in July by the URA on behalf of the Ministry of Health. The deadline has now been extended to Jan 15. PHOTOS: URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

URA doubles extra gross floor area that may be added, and opens project to any bidder with ‘positive’ net tangible assets

Singapore’s plans to set up a high-end dementia village in Gibraltar Crescent, near Sembawang Park, appears to have run into some hiccups.

The authorities have now tweaked a couple of requirements and extended the deadline for operators to tender for the project.

The tender for the 30-year use of 10 bungalows for a dementia care village was called in July by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on behalf of the Ministry of Health (MOH).

A week before the tender was to close last Tuesday, the URA informed all interested parties that it was extending the deadline to Jan 15.

When asked why the deadline was pushed back, the URA and MOH told The Sunday Times: “Based on industry feedback received after the launch of the tender, we have extended the tender closing date to allow prospective tenderers more time to prepare their proposals.”

The Sunday Times understands that initial interest in the project – the first of its kind in Singapore – waned when potential bidders realised the constraints imposed.

For example, the original exterior and facade needed to be preserved or matched. But some of it contravenes the fire safety requirements for a nursing home.

There was also concern that the allowed expansion to the floor area was insufficient for the project to be viable.

The Government limited the number of additional buildings to preserve the verdant greenery.

Along with the deadline extension till January, the URA has almost doubled the additional gross floor area that may be added, from 900 sq m to 1,600 sq m.

It has also removed the minimum net tangible assets of $30 million that tenderers were required to have.

Now, anyone with “positive” net tangible assets may bid for the project.

With this change, the project is now open to a larger group of potential bidders.

But tenderers still need to place a deposit of $3.6 million or 5 per cent of the tender amount, whichever is higher.

The 28,000 sq m site comprises two plots of land.

The plan is for about 60 per cent of the space to be used for residential purposes, and the remaining for things like a shop, a restaurant and centre-based care.

The gated community would provide a safe place for people with dementia to move around freely.

Dementia is expected to increase here as the population ages. A 2013 study by the Institute of Mental Health found that more than one in five people aged 74 to 84 years here suffer from it. Among those who are older, more than half have dementia.

The URA’s tender document stipulates that the dementia care village should provide “a safe, home-like environment where residents are assisted to live independently, with meaningful community participation and social interactions”.

Ms Charlene Chang, group director for the Ageing Planning Office at MOH, disclosed that at least a quarter of the residential places had to be set aside for subsidised clients.

She said in a letter to The Straits Times that the ministry hoped “to enlist private sector ideas and innovation to develop a model of care that is less medicalised, and which promotes independence and autonomy”.

The concept has met with mixed reactions. Some applaud the idea of a spacious facility where families can leave someone suffering from dementia in safe hands.

Others argue that it is better for seniors with mild to moderate dementia to continue living with their families at home, a place they are familiar with.

“Source:[Tweaks made to dementia village tender to draw more bidders] © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction”

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