Jurong East’s increased accessibility likely to draw more major firms

The rapid transformation of the Jurong East area into a bustling commercial hub over the past seven years is set to quicken, analysts said, following Tuesday’s (May 5) announcement that the terminus station of the High Speed Rail link between Singapore and Malaysia will be located there.

In addition, more big-name companies are expected to relocate to or expand their operations into the area, whose “glamour quotient” and accessibility to parts of Malaysia would be significantly boosted by the rail project.

Real estate consultancy CBRE announced on Wednesday that more than 90 per cent of Westgate Tower in Jurong East had been occupied, with British automaker Daimler, Great Eastern Life and CPG Corporation among the tenants.

The 25-storey Grade A commercial building was completed last December and offers a total lettable area of 305,000 sq ft.

CBRE executive director (office services) Michael Tay said: “Coming on the heels of the latest announcement of Jurong East as the terminus for the High Speed Rail link between Singapore and Malaysia, Westgate Tower’s premium as a strategic commercial development in Jurong Regional Centre is now raised.”

Ms Christine Li, research director at Cushman and Wakefield, said more businesses are expected to move to the area in the wake of the announcement.

“We expect this trend to gather momentum as more and more pharmaceuticals, research and development, consumer products, services and IT companies decide to relocate to or expand into Jurong Gateway.

“While, for some, the idea is to integrate with their respective manufacturing operations around Tuas, for others, it is about easily reaching out to Johor, Iskandar and beyond to Kuala Lumpur.”

In 2008, the Urban Redevelopment Authority unveiled plans to further decentralise commercial activities from the Central Business District to areas such as Jurong Lake District, Paya Lebar and Kallang.

The Jurong Lake District is currently the largest commercial hub outside the CBD and comprises two precincts – Lakeside and Jurong Gateway.

The former is being developed as a major leisure destination, while the latter is envisioned as a commercial district.

In all, the 70ha Jurong Gateway offers about 500,000 sq m of office space and 250,000 sq m of space for retail, food and beverage as well as entertainment uses. Around 2,500 hotel rooms will also be developed.

CBRE said the High Speed Rail project would be the icing on the cake to seal Jurong Gateway’s status as a commercial hub.

Analysts noted that big-name companies are not averse to relocating their offices, especially when there are potential cost savings.

For instance, IBM moved from the CBD to Changi Business Park, while P&G moved from Novena to Metropolis at one-north.

Mr Desmond Sim, CBRE head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia, said: “With lower occupancy cost around the Jurong area … it is the best viable alternative outside the CBD for companies, both from the commercial and human-resource point of view. The High Speed Rail project will add to the ‘glamour quotient’ of the location.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 3 May 2015

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