Room for more commercial developments in northeast S’pore

The government has been ramping up housing supply in recent years, particularly in the north-eastern part of Singapore and some analysts said there is room for more commercial developments to meet the needs of the growing population.

According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Housing and Development Board (HDB), a total of 44,868 residential units will be completed in Sengkang and Punggol by 2016.

The nearby Pasir Ris town will also see 10,243 units in the next three years.

As a result, analysts said some of these towns may have limited shopping options.

Chia Siew Chuin, director of research and advisory at Colliers International, said: “When we look at shop space, we need to bear in mind that this excludes space used for F&B as well as entertainment space. If we were to consider the total amount of shop space available in the main areas of Sengkang, Punggol, Pasir Ris as well as Tampines, we can actually see that Sengkang and Punggol have a lower space per capita of about two square feet, compared to Tampines which has about seven square feet.”

The completion of The Seletar Mall and Waterway Point in the next two to three years would add another 780,000 square feet of retail space in the Sengkang/Punggol area.

The URA has also launched a commercial site at Punggol Point for sale on December 4 last year.

Looking ahead, as these new towns continue to grow, analysts said there is room for more shopping malls.

Responding to MediaCorp’s query, CapitaMall Trust which owns Rivervale Mall in Sengkang said it continually looks at opportunities to refresh its malls through asset enhancement initiatives to meet shoppers’ needs.

Richard Ng, head of asset management at CapitaMall Trust said, “When assessing a mall, we observe the shopper and vehicular traffic, shopper flow through the mall, purchasing patterns and tenants’ sales.”

Meanwhile, Frasers Centrepoint said as Sengkang town continues to grow, it will review Compass Point mall’s tenant mix to optimise space usage. The mall, which is located near the Sengkang MRT station, currently house 120 shops.

Frasers Centrepoint added that its joint venture project at Watertown in Punggol will also comprise a retail component – Waterway Point. The mall is expected to be completed by 2015 and will house 220 shops.

Donald Han, HSR Property Group’s special advisor, said: “In three to five years, there could be more opportunities for commercial sale of sites. Generally, these malls maybe smaller in size of less than 300,000 square feet. In some cases, they could be about 100,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet, mainly catering for the local population.”

Some analysts said one way to address the issue is for the government to release more mixed development sites in these areas. On these sites, developers will be able to build a combination of residential units and commercial shops which will also serve residents in the vicinity.

Analysts expect the government to continue to improve the range of facilities in new towns.

Lee Sze Teck, senior manager of training, research and consultancy at DWG, said: “The Masterplan review is coming up this year and we will probably see some changes to land uses. From there on, we will see how the URA is going to implement some of these changes to cater for an increase in population.”

Responding to query, HDB said more commercial facilities will be provided to serve residents as a town gets more developed.

It added that 71 shops, eating houses and supermarkets will be built in Sengkang, Punggol and Pasir Ris by 2016.

The National Development Ministry is due to release its Land Use Plan paper this week.

It will outline the government’s land use plan to support possible population growth.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 30 Jan 2013

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