URA launches new short-term office site on Scotts Road

By Daryl Loo, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 04 July 2007 2020 hrs

SINGAPORE : More relief for the office sector, in the form of a short-term, or transitional, site for offices.

The government has released the first ever office site with a 10-year lease on Scotts Road, to help alleviate the ongoing office crunch in the CBD (Central Business District).

It assures that more office space will come on stream to meet longer term needs.

Sited above the Newton MRT Station, the transitional office site can accomodate a building up to 4-storeys tall, with nearly 16,000 square metres worth of space.

Designed as a short-term solution to the lack of offices in the CBD, the building can be completed within a year.

But the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) said it has given developers the flexibility to take up to two years.

Said Marc Boey, Deputy Director (Land Admin, Sales & Research) at URA: "We have consulted businesses and got their feedback on this product. Based on feedback that we've received, we think it should be something that is quite presentable.

"The design will be simple but functional. Given its strategic location - a prime location at Newton - we have put in place guidelines to ensure that the development will look presentable."

The URA said it has identified other similar sites for short-term use, and will release these if demand for the first site is strong.

On Wednesday, it also launched for sale a commercial site on Anson Road after a developer committed to bid at least $116 million for it.

In total, the government now has some 540,000 square metres worth of office space available for sale, mainly under its land sales programme.

"There are also another 640,000 square metres of office space which are in the pipeline. These are office developments that are either under construction or have planning approval, and which will be ready between now and 2010," said Boey.

"In total, we're looking at a volume of about 1.2 million square metres of office space that can be made available within the next few years. Just to provide a sense of scale, between 2004 and 2006, the actual demand for office space was about 220,000 square metres per annum," he added.

Analysts said transitional office sites can help the current shortage, and their short leases will also prevent the risk of a future oversupply.

"It will certainly help to reduce pressure on supply, because the new supply that is going to be injected into the market within a very short period of time will help to cater to demand from office users who do not require a CBD location, or do not require to be located within a full-fledged office location," said Tay Huey Ying, director of Research at Colliers International.

The tender for the transitional office site will close on August 1. - CNA /ls