20,000 sq m office space to help the squeeze

By 2012, Singapore will have an additional 1.4 million sq m of office space. Some 150,000 sq m of additional space will also be added near term.

But that is small consolation to businesses facing a rapid rise in rentals on a surge in the growth in business and financial sectors. To ease the squeeze in office space further, the government will move some government agencies out of the central area.

“We will now free-up 20,000 sq m or more by first quarter 2009 for use by the private sector. This is equivalent to 20 floors or more of an office tower block in Suntec City,” said Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

The government will also defer $1 billion of less-urgent projects to ease construction costs, Mr Shanmugaratnam said. “This will only affect projects that are less urgent. Key investments such as the expressways, the Downtown Line and the NUS University Town will not be affected.”

Office rents climbed 56.1 per cent last year, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority statistics. “Although, 20,000 sq m does not seem like much, we are now in a situation where office space is so tight that every little bit helps,” said Mr Ku Swee Yong, corporate business and residential director at Savills Singapore.

Source : Weekend Today – 16 Feb 2008

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