Singapore’s office landscape in the new decadeMay 15, 2020 / By
Singapore’s Master Plan 2019 is heralding a new office landscape in the new decade.
Reawakening of the old city centre
The CBD Incentive Scheme (CIS) has encouraged a new wave of redevelopment that could add vibrancy to Singapore’s city centre. The scheme offers qualifying building owners in the CBD a 25-30% increase in gross plot ratio for redevelopment into mixed commercial and residential or hotel projects.
To date, owners of two out of the over 20 qualifying office buildings estimated by JLL Research have taken advantage of the CIS and embarked on redevelopment. These are Tower Fifteen and Realty Centre which could be redeveloped into a hotel and mixed commercial and residential tower, respectively.
AXA Tower which Alibaba recently acquired a 50% stake in has also secured government approval for bonus floor area for redevelopment that incorporates hotel and residential use.
Meanwhile, Keppel Towers is understood to be undergoing redevelopment but into a full commercial project. Thus, it is not eligible for the CIS. This underscores the reality that the revitalisation of Singapore’s city centre need not be constrained by the feasibility of the CIS.
Jurong Lake District economic gateway taking shape
Among the economic gateways to be developed into employment nodes to support global connection to external markets and strengthen Singapore’s competitive advantage, plans for the Jurong Lake District (JLD) to become the largest commercial node outside the CBD are progressing well.
The Land Transport Authority recently obtained provisional permission to develop office and retail space as part of the Jurong East integrated transport hub by 2027. An Expression of Interest for the development of a 7-hectare tourism site adjacent to the Chinese Garden MRT station by 2026 was called in end-2019, and a Request for Proposal is eagerly awaited. Additionally, tender for a multi-disciplinary marketing consultancy has been called with the objective of stepping up the marketing and promotion efforts for JLD from 3Q20.
Urban transformation projects advancing
Two of the several urban transformation projects envisioned as key growth areas that will encourage economic growth and bring jobs and amenities closer to residents have seen significant progress.
Phase 1 of the Greater Southern Waterfront is taking shape. We understand that there are plans for a new Grade A office development next to the Labrador Park MRT station that is slated for completion in 4Q 2023. Nearby, the Pasir Panjang Power District site could be released through a tender next year for its transformation into a waterfront lifestyle destination. The public ideas and feedback gathering phase is complete, and a Request for Information has been launched for interested parties to provide inputs on the feasibility of the site’s redevelopment.
In the northeast, JTC is going full steam ahead with the development of Punggol Digital District (PDD) to create new space for businesses in the growing digital economy. Phase 1 of PDD is scheduled to be ready by 2023. A ground-breaking ceremony was held in January 2020.
As more companies ride on the benefits of flexible working and work-from-home policies following their COVID-19 experience, offices need to be more than just a place where employees report for work. Traditional offices will have to reinvent themselves to stay relevant. This could invoke more redevelopments of ageing office assets in the CBD and help shift Singapore’s office landscape towards further decentralisation.
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