An Insider Look Into SAFRA’s Newest Clubhouse Before Its Opening

We go behind-the-scenes to find out what goes into planning for SAFRA Choa Chu Kang.

By Aaron Seah        17 March 2023

Set to open its doors in May 2023, SAFRA’s seventh clubhouse is a “fitness oasis” nestled within Choa Chu Kang Park. The 5-storey eco-friendly clubhouse will house a myriad of sheltered sports facilities and an Integrated Entertainment Hub, with many spaces within the club designed to maximise natural ventilation and sunlight. Located just five minutes away from Choa Chu Kang MRT station, the clubhouse is expected to draw an annual visitation of over 1.4 million visitors once opened.

NSMan speaks with LTC (NS) Andy Tan BBM, who had recently hosted the SAFRA Choa Chu Kang Hard Hat event to Senior Minister of State for Defence and President of SAFRA Zaqy Mohamad, together with the Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong and Member of Parliament for Choa Chu Kang GRC Don Wee, to find out what goes into opening SAFRA’s latest recreational clubhouse that is nestled in the northwest of Singapore.

Q: You recently hosted the Hard Hat event at the upcoming SAFRA Choa Chu Kang clubhouse. What was the experience like?

LTC (NS) Andy Tan BBM (first from left) hosting the entourage during the SAFRA Choa Chu Kang Hard Hat Event

Extremely surreal and gratifying. You know that feeling of satisfaction and wonder when you complete a Lego build from scratch? Multiply that by a million times! While I have seen the design impressions on paper, to see the entire build rise up so majestically brick by brick and come alive, over a period prolonged by the COVID pandemic, was truly incredible. It was very surreal to be able to stand on the build and walk through it. Gratifying because I know everyone involved in this project put in lots of intense hard work, navigating through the various challenges brought by the pandemic by uniting our hearts, mind and soul to see it through.

Q: As the Chairman of the SAFRA Choa Chu Kang Development Committee and Corporate Branding Committee, you have been very involved in the design of the club right from the start. Please share with us more on the design aspects of the clubhouse and the club’s logo and tagline.

The clubhouse’s unique façade with high ceilings and V-shape pillars

The entire architectural design pays a symbolic tribute to National Service (NS) and its importance to our nation. And I’d like to credit DP Architects for this inspiring design that truly understood what NS and SAFRA is all about. You’ll see towering structures and exceptionally high ceilings dominating the build, a visual reminder that we as NSmen will always stand tall in defence of our country. The main facade wall is designed to evoke unwavering strength. And you’ll also spot V-shaped structures holding up the entire build from beneath, recognising NSmen as true pillars of strength of our nation. These V-shape pillars may be relatively small individually, but when they come together they form the foundation of our defence.

This strength can be felt resonating strongly in us when we walk through the club, giving us the energy to keep going. And this inspired the club’s tagline: “Energising Our Lives.”

Artist’s impression of SAFRA Choa Chu Kang with its sheltered sports facilities

The entire club’s heartbeat and pulse revolves around the theme of “Energy”. As a fitness and wellness hub, the club aims to inspire all to get fit, healthy and ENERGISED. It also incorporates a few firsts when it comes to saving ENERGY for a more sustainable future. NSmen and their families can come to relax and recharge their ENERGY through an integrated leisure, entertainment and F&B hub. And it’s a place to connect and bond to foster community ENERGY. To ultimately inspire our NSmen with more ENERGY to serve, as this club ultimately exists as an appreciation of NSmen’s continuous commitment to NS, and we wish to recognise them and keep them going.

Q: What was the main focus when coming up with the ideas for SAFRA Choa Chu Kang?

Firstly, we wanted a universal and timeless theme, something that people of all ages can identify with, be inspired by, and do together. Thus, the fitness and wellness theme became our primary focus and anchor, because fitness is not only a core foundation of NS, but also of the nation. Keeping fit is a growing global trend, and we envision a club filled with energetic interest groups catering to all types of fitness endeavours and interests, led by people with passion.

Secondly, we wanted a clubhouse that offered the best-in-class facilities and offerings for our members and their families. Plus, we listened to what NSmen wanted from feedback given.

SAFRA Choa Chu Kang is built to be an eco-friendly club

Thirdly, the club should be a leader and example of sustainability efforts. We aim to be the first club in Singapore to attain BCA Green Mark Platinum Super Low Energy (SLE) standards. This will be done through several firsts, for example: installing over 660 solar panels enough to generate over 450,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually (which is equivalent to powering approximately 96 units of 4-room HDB for one year), utilising a heat recovery system to provide hot water for showers, and an intelligent energy management system, coupled with energy efficient LED lights and lighting sensors for the building, plus smart rainwater harvesting to save water.

Q: What were some of the challenges that you had faced in planning for SAFRA’s seventh club?

The constant challenge is to make sure we manage the budget and time with precision. To these ends, the COVID pandemic threw us the biggest curve ball we could ever anticipate. There were time delays, caused by both manpower and logistical constrains. And we also had to manage our finances very carefully, constantly re-priotising and evaluating every step of the way. At the same time, we wanted to ensure that the project continues with safety and health as a top priority for everyone involved. Keeping morale up through the pandemic was also critical.

Q: Why was Choa Chu Kang chosen as the location for SAFRA’s seventh club?

Choa Chu Kang is a town with growing population and it will continue to grow with the new Tengah Forest Town slated for 2030. The general population of Choa Chu Kang alone is estimated to grow to over 200,000. Currently there are over 90,000 National Servicemen & their families residing in the North West region, and growing. At the same time, there are several SAF camps in the vicinity as well, who will all benefit from having a clubhouse they can call home.

Q: What are you most excited to try/do at SAFRA Choa Chu Kang when it opens?

Sheltered futsal court and indoor sky running track allow fitness activities to continue even in mild wet weather conditions

The club will be the first in Singapore, and dare I say the world, to integrate the outdoor fitness route with indoor fitness facilities, connected seamlessly by a vertical Steps of Life and a 150-metre indoor sky running track. There will also be a balanced mix of dry and wet (pool) training and workout options, complemented by a state-of-the-art EnergyOne gym, the largest amongst SAFRA clubs.

CAMO Café & Bar will be jointly managed by Tung Lok Group and SAFRA

I’m also excited to visit the military-themed café & bar – CAMO. It offers a unique ambience with military-themed features that will be familiar to every NSmen. Jointly managed by Tung Lok Group and SAFRA, the venue will serve a fusion of Asian and Western cuisines and a range of beverages.

Sonic Bowl will be an Integrated Entertainment hub that spans over 2,200 m² with bowling, karaoke and darts facilities

To relax and unwind, I will jio my family and friends for an entertaining time at the Integrated Entertainment hub by Sonic Bowl. This hub will house an 18-lane bowling centre, karaoke and darts facilities, along with food, all offered within the same area spanning over 2,200 m².

Q: SAFRA CCK will have a range of new facilities for fitness, family bonding, recreation and dining. Could you share with us what can SAFRA members and the public look forward to?

A ‘fitness oasis’ with sheltered swimming pool and SAFRA’s largest EnergyOne gym

For fitness activities, SAFRA members can look forward to a sheltered swimming pool which is first in a SAFRA club and they can also enjoy working out in an integrated fitness and wellness hub spanning close to 2,700m². Other than working out with the latest range of top-branded training equipment at SAFRA’s largest EnergyOne gym, fitness junkies can also spar at the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) arena, learn self-defense moves at a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy or enjoy a deep tissue massage after a strenuous exercise session at a Balinese-inspired spa. On top of that, the club will also house a indoor climbing facility operated by Climb Central.

Parents can look forward to facilities such as Bouncetopia and NurtureStars Preschool

For families, we have a wide range of recreational and F&B options. SAFRA CCK will be the first SAFRA club to have a sports-themed indoor inflatable park where families can bond through play. Endless hours of family fun awaits at the new Bouncetopia outlet by Kiztopia Group. Kids will jump for joy as the bouncy playground paradise will feature specially-customised inflatables, offering a variety of fun-filled activities like obstacle courses, slides, ball pits, a basketball field, and a challenging vertical climb.

There will also be academic and enrichment facilities for children at the club, and parents will be happy to learn that there will be a NurtureStars Preschool, student care and six enrichment centres, which will offer a wide array of courses ranging from languages, mathematics and science, to arts, dance and taekwondo.

The only Burger King outlet in Singapore with a drive-through will be available at SAFRA Choa Chu Kang

Besides the CAMO Café & Bar mentioned earlier, other dining options will include a Food Paradise food court, a Texas Chicken outlet and also BBQ pits for those who want to have a cook out.

I am excited about the Burger King outlet, as it will be Singapore’s only outlet with a drive-through! This will provide NSmen with greater convenience in purchasing takeaway meals en- route to work or home.

As mentioned previously, the club will also have an Integrated Entertainment Hub managed by Sonic Bowl to provide an ideal one-stop destination for NSmen to socialise, and for large group activities to be organised. Gamers can play to their hearts content at Clique Gaming café, which offers LAN gaming, game consoles and pool tables.

Aside from the exciting facilities and amenities that the new clubhouse has to offer, SAFRA members and the public can look forward to a month-long open house in the month of June! Expect fun-filled activities like the SAFRA Fitness Race @ Choa Chu Kang and exclusive promotions to compliment the festivities.

SAFRA Choa Chu Kang will be located at 28 Choa Chu Kang Drive, Singapore 689964

Watch the video below for a quick introduction on SAFRA Choa Chu Kang Clubhouse and the Hard Hat event that took place in January 2023.

NSmen, sign up for your complimentary 1-year SAFRA membership and enjoy discounts on dining and shopping purchases at over 2,000 merchant outlets islandwide, as well as members’ rates at more than 45 sports facilities at SAFRA clubs! What’s more, your family can enjoy the privileges too – your 1st dependent pays $10/year, and it’s free for your 2nd dependent onwards. Click here for more details. 

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