THE PLANS to restart Singapore's stalled motorsport hub from the pitlanes of its unfinished 41-hectare site in Changi began with the launch of the market sounding exercise for the venue on Friday.
The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) launched the exercise as a precursor to a potentially re-tendering in the first quarter of next year, with the organisation also open to "interest and ideas" for "other sports and lifestyle concepts".
Explaining the purpose of the exercise, SSC's chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said: "The initial phase of the market sounding exercise is aimed at engaging more potential investors, so that they can contribute their ideas and provide information meaningfully in the later stages of the exercise when the official Request For Information is launched.
"We hope to reach out to local and overseas investors, both within and outside the motorsport industry, who would be keen to come up with innovative ideas to put Singapore on the global sporting map, engage the larger community and add value to our economy."
In 2010, SG Changi won the bid to build a motorsport hub in Changi. But, by the start of 2011, news broke that the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau was probing alleged irregularities in the tender process as work stopped at the site as SG Changi missed a $10 million instalment for piling works.
By the end of the year, when the hub was projected to have been completed, SSC announced that it was working towards mutual termination of the contract with the organisation.
CIMB economist and motorsport fan Song Seng Wun explained that the fiasco and the current economic climate would make the dream of having a motorsport hub more challenging.
He explained: "It's definitely a more challenging time to embark on such a project.
"Financing will be more difficult, especially after what happened with SG Changi and because the economic climate is more challenging than in 2007.
"But the apparent flexibility of combining the motorsport hub with a lifestyle component will give more options for interested parties when they look at how to generate income from this project.
"I don't think there will necessarily be fewer bidders because if you look at the macro level it is still an attractive level as we still have high incomes and high levels of spending. Therefore there will still be demand for alternative leisure activities."