Jurong East and current CBD likely to complement each other: Analysts

Great Eastern Life will be moving to Westgate Tower in Jurong East. It is among several firms, including German automaker Daimler and CPG Corporation, shifting to the west.

Already, Jurong East is seeing a major transformation – with several shopping malls, office buildings and even a hotel and hospital sprouting up in recent years. But this will gain further momentum, with the upcoming high-speed rail terminus to be sited at where Jurong Country Club now stands. Analysts said they expect to see more commercial properties coming up in that area – turning it into a key commercial node in Singapore.

According to property consultants, financial services and complementary industries are expected to remain in the current central business district (CBD), for proximity to the centre and each other. As for Jurong East, industries that would choose to locate there are likely to be more ‘footloose’.”

“Typically those companies that are more ‘footloose’, they don’t really need a central location, yet they like certain amenities and agglomeration of firms together,” said Dr Chua Yang Liang, head of research for Southeast Asia and Singapore at Jones Lang LaSalle Property Consultants. “If you look at the occupiers in and around the area, they’re quite broad. You have oil and gas, lifestyle, some business services in there, IT firms. Going forward, I think how Jurong would shape itself out is I think there would be greater cumulation of these firms coming together.”

However, how the two commercial nodes complement each other depends on both physical and economic connectivity.

“In the short term, I think how you get from the regional line to the local transportation network is important,” said Dr Chua. “Increasingly over time, as the area develops, the economic connections, the businesses that are there, vis-a-vis those that are in the CBD – how are they related? Are there supporting services coming in from there?

“And the relationship with Malaysia as well. What kind of business and economic relations and links do they have? That would then provide the kind of connectivities to achieve the dream of having a leading commercial hub in the west.”

Amid the upcoming developments in the area, some property experts said there could be space set aside for nature and recreation. They noted that the Jurong Country Club site, of which 20 per cent will be occupied by the terminus, was set out to be a green lung.

Said Mr Desmond Sim, head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia at CBRE: “Country clubs, originally are like a green lung to the precinct and we shouldn’t be intensifying the use or making it dense for the remaining 80%. It should remain a green lung. Maybe certain parts of the remaining 80% could be used to complement the surroundings of the terminus, but if the connectivity there should be a green lung stretching across to the Jurong Lake District and preserving the whole Lake District as a green entity.”

Jurong East may not be the only area to benefit from upcoming developments. Analysts said these could help spur more demand for businesses and amenities in nearby areas like Clementi and Bukit Batok.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 14 May 2015

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