Published November 29, 2008

Jurong East 'white' site joins reserve list

But market watchers say that like the Bukit Chermin site, it is not likely to be triggered anytime soon


FOR the second day running, the Urban Redevelopment Authority has made available for application a reserve list site in an attractive location, despite the inopportune timing.

Its latest offering is a 1.9-hectare 'white' site next to Jurong East MRT Station. At least 30 per cent of the 1.15 million square foot maximum gross floor area must be set aside for office use and the rest for additional office use or other uses permitted under the white site zoning such as commercial (like retail and entertainment), hotel and residential uses.

The 99-year leasehold plot is the first sale site being offered in URA's Jurong Gateway precinct since Singapore's planning authority unveiled plans for the Jurong Lake District earlier this year.

On Thursday, URA went ahead with the scheduled release of a plum hotel site at Bukit Chermin on hilly terrain overlooking the coastline.

Market watchers yesterday gave the Jurong East site the same verdict that they did for the Bukit Chermin site - it's not likely to be triggered anytime soon.

'Given the current uncertain business environment, it's unlikely there will be any interest in the Jurong East site. There's also difficulty in getting funding. Investors would rather go for completed, income-generating assets that can give immediate returns than to embark on a fresh development with higher risks,' DTZ executive director Ong Choon Fah said.

Market watchers also note that substantial office supply is expected to be completed from 2010.

Colliers International director Tay Huey Ying: 'It's unlikely the Jurong East site will be triggered for launch until the market picks up significantly. The land parcel is quite attractively located next to an MRT station and in an area within a growth centre.'

URA said: 'Given its strategic location, it is vital that the proposed development on the first sale site in Jurong Gateway is a well-designed landmark development with appropriate quality.

'Hence, the design of the proposed development will be reviewed by a Design Advisory Panel (DAP), chaired by URA.

'The DAP will work with and guide the development team in the design of the development after the tender has been awarded.'

Reserve list sites are launched for tender only upon successful application by a developer with an undertaking of a minimum bid acceptable to the state.

The tender for the Jurong East site will be awarded on the basis of land price.