Industry players upbeat about plans for 2 new commercial hubs

Industry players are upbeat about the plans for two new commercial hubs, noting that both Kallang and Paya Lebar have great potential for growth, given their close proximity to the city.

However, they said the timing of the various projects will have to be calibrated carefully, so as not to place additional strain on the construction sector.

In the next 15 years, Singapore will have three new commercial hubs. Jurong Lake District, Paya Lebar Central and Kallang Riverside will cost billions of dollars to develop.

According to the National Development Minister, Mah Bow Tan, one or two sites in these new regional centres will be released for sale fairly soon. But market demand will mostly dictate the pace of the developments.

Industry players warn against over-developing and easing plot ratios, which they said could trigger another wave of en-bloc sales.

Simon Cheong, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore, said: “We are one of the highest in the world – higher than Dubai, Tokyo, Sydney, New York and Hong Kong – in terms of construction costs. By not increasing the plot ratio, I think the government is giving some relief to the construction industry.”

The government has already announced that it will defer some S$3 billion worth of public sector projects. Other projects may also join the list.

Mr Mah said: “I’ve asked the public agencies to consider deferring more projects if necessary. It makes good sense, (with) construction cost being so high, you won’t get as much value for money.

“It also helps to even out the cycles – when construction demand in other areas goes down, this is one way for us to even out the cycle.”

Some infrastructural works have already started at the Jurong Lake District, which is being transformed into a regional centre for the western part of Singapore. – CNA/ms

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 23 May 2008

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