As the centerpiece of Singapore’s urban transformation efforts, Marina Bay has grown into a leading financial center, a civic space, and a community playground for all. Its journey to become the symbol of 21st century Singapore is a story of long-term planning and meticulous implementation.
History and the beginnings of Marina Bay
Singapore’s Historic Waterfront
From the early 1800s, our historic waterfront served as the point of entry for visitors and immigrants seeking a better life in Singapore. Post-independence years saw Singapore’s rapid growth as an important financial centre and the construction of new public and private landmarks along the waterfront.
Reclamation Works, 1977
In anticipation of increasing growth of the existing city center, Singapore embarked upon an ambitious land reclamation project in 1971. In 1994, the final 38 hectares of land were reclaimed at Bayfront to create the shore profile of Marina Bay that we see today. By the late 1990s, the Marina Bay area covers a total of 360 hectares of prime land for development.
Marina South, 1987
The first glimpse of Marina Bay
Over the turn of the millennium, Marina Centre – the first major development in the Marina Bay area – was established as a key business, convention and hospitality hub. Suntec City, Marina Square and Millenia Walk, together with a cluster of luxury hotels sprung up, giving the area an impressive, modern skyline culminating in the Singapore Flyer.
The rise of Marina Centre
Standing majestically at the mouth of the Singapore River, the conserved Fullerton Building opened its doors as the newly-restored Fullerton Hotel. At opposite sides of the Esplanade Bridge, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and the new Merlion Park featuring the iconic 8-metre tall Merlion statue breathed new life into the Bay.
The following years saw the introduction of memorable celebrations and exciting events, and more developments at Marina Bay, as part of the effort to realise the vision of a 24/7 live-work-play waterfront precinct.
Fullerton Hotel & One Fullerton
The inaugural Marina Bay Singapore Countdown was held at Marina Bay on New Year’s Eve of 2005, drawing more than 160,000 people. The world’s largest floating stage, The Float @ Marina Bay opened with the 2007 National Day Parade and the first night-time Formula One race was held the following year.
Change Alley Aerial Plaza
In 2009, Clifford Pier – The Red-Lantern Pier, reopened and is now part of the Fullerton Bay Hotel. Change Alley Aerial Plaza, the iconic landmark also reopened as OUE Link, part of the OUE Bayfront complex in the following year.
A landmark year
2010 marked an important year for Marina Bay, with the completion of many key public infrastructures including The Helix pedestrian bridge and Bayfront vehicular bridge linking Marina Bay to Marina Centre; the Youth Olympic Park was opened to mark the inaugural Youth Olympics held in Singapore, and a 3.5km waterfront promenade was built for easy access around the Bay.
Marina Bay Sands
I Light Marina Bay was also held for the first time around the Bay. The first sustainable light art festival in Asia, it has since grown to become an annual fixture featuring sustainable light art installations from around the world and activities for everyone to enjoy.
Gardens by the Bay
Over the course of the year, Marina Bay Sands was added to our iconic skyline with its dramatic architecture, and a 100-hectare Gardens by the Bay with its massive Supertrees opened soon after in 2012. In commemoration of Singapore’s 50 years, the 6m-wide Jubilee Bridge was opened to the public in 2015, providing another link between the Merlion Park and the promenade in front of the Esplanade.
The heart of Singapore’s new financial hub came to fruition in 2013, with The Marina Bay Financial Centre and Asia Square becoming the choice location for many leading financial institutions. Adding to the repertoire of iconic buildings in Marina South, mixed-use developments such as Marina One officially opened in 2018, marking Singapore’s growth as a major international business destination.
Looking to the future and beyond
Located next to Bay South Garden and the Straits of Singapore, Marina South will set a new standard for sustainable urban living. Imagine an urban village characterised by city streets with corner shops, cafes, grocery stores, barbers and beauty salons, all within a short walk or bicycle ride. Residential communities are planned as street neighbourhoods where residents have opportunities for interaction. Walking and cycling are the choice modes to move around with shaded walks and dedicated cycling paths. An intricate network of MRT lines, cycling paths and pedestrian walkways will serve the district.