High-Speed Rail: Developers to keep tabs on Government plans for surrounding land

All eyes will be on how the authorities rezone the parcel of land that will be acquired from Jurong Country Club (JCC) by November next year for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail terminus, and how much of the prized land around the station will be sold to private developers.

Analysts said developers’ interest and the potential of the plot hinge on these decisions, as well as the cost of the tickets for the high speed rail. For example, they noted that the type of hotels that will spring up around the area largely depends on whether the high speed rail is targeted at the budget-conscious traveller, or business travellers.

The high speed rail terminal station will take up 12ha — or less than a fifth — of the 67ha plot that will be acquired by the Government from JCC.

Dr Chua Yang Liang, Head Research (South East Asia) at Jones Lang LaSalle, said: “While the immediate impact looks positive and developers do have a strong intent in being a part of the Jurong Gateway growth story, most are keeping a close tab on the next move by the Government in terms of the design and integration of the balance land parcel alongside the HSR terminus.”

Ms Christine Li, research director at Cushman and Wakefield, noted that it would be unlikely that the Government would release the land around the terminal station at one go. “Immediate release of a big chunk is not expected as it could possibly create a glut given the pipeline supply of the commercial space in the Central Business District,” she said. “However, the development plan could be used as a buffer should our economy go into a recession in the next 10 years. If that happens, construction boom to improve the infrastructure and amenities could create jobs and growth for the economy.”

Mr Desmond Sim, CBRE head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia, pointed out that the plot currently occupied by JCC and its golf course was meant to be a green lung. “There would be some restraint in letting out the entire (plot of) land for commercial development as we must not forget the original plan,” he said.

At a media briefing, Urban Redevelopment Authority CEO Ng Lang said the area around the terminal station will be developed into “an attractive mixed-use development precinct for business”.

“This will include developing uses for office, for hotel, for retail, for entertainment,” he said.

The site has “special” characteristics as it surrounded by water bodies and greenery, Mr Ng noted. “On the waterfront … we can put aside some space that can allow us to develop a family-friendly facility that can complement what we’re already planning for the Jurong Lake District and the new Science Centre.”

Mr Colin Tan, director of research and consultancy at Suntec Real Estate, pointed out that the high-profile project is quite unlike any other. “We need to realise that this is not just another MRT terminus,” he said.

He added that the pricing of the tickets is “the best indicator of the type of patron (that) retailers and developers may expect in the area”.

Resorts World Sentosa’s (RWS) Genting Hotel Jurong, which opened its doors in Jurong East last month, has hit the jackpot: It is located right next to the plot of land that will be redeveloped for the terminal station.

An RWS spokesperson said: “We are very excited to be a part of the rapid transformation and growth that is taking place at the Jurong Lake District. With the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high speed rail terminus set to be just a stone’s throw from Genting Hotel Jurong, the hotel is well-placed to welcome visitors and commuters from Malaysia and the region.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 12 May 2015

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