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Thread: Rejuvenation for Jurong residential areas

  1. #1
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    Default Rejuvenation for Jurong residential areas,00.html?

    Published December 30, 2008

    Rejuvenation for Jurong residential areas

    Better connectivity and more housing choices are on the cards


    MORE residential areas in Jurong are to be rejuvenated as part of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) 2008 Master Plan to develop commercial hubs outside the Central Business District.

    Supporting the growth of the Jurong Lake District, Faber Terrace, Faber Hills, Teban Gardens and Pandan Gardens will soon enjoy better connectivity and more housing choices.

    Various infrastructure plans in the region will proceed 'notwithstanding the current economic downturn', said URA in a release yesterday.

    The government will be enhancing roads at Faber Terrace and Faber Hills. Not only will this improve the area's traffic situation, it will also allow more low and medium-density housing fronting Sungei Ulu Pandan to be built in future, said URA.

    Noting that traffic along the Ayer Rajah Expressway in the area can be heavy, DTZ's executive director Ong Choon Fah agreed with the plans. 'If you build up the Jurong Lake District, you will also need to find an accessible way to get there,' she said.

    According to URA, new residences at Faber Terrace and Faber Hills will be private and could include landed property as well as low- and medium-density condominiums. The area could be suitable for cluster housing, said Cushman & Wakefield Singapore managing director Donald Han.

    Teban and Pandan Gardens will also undergo rejuvenation. Two public housing sites at Teban Gardens are already under the selective en-bloc redevelopment scheme, and PUB's ABC Waters programme for the Pandan Reservoir will further enhance waterfront living in the area.

    There are also plans to improve Teban and Pandan Gardens' connectivity with the Jurong Lake District.

    The district - comprising a commercial centre at Jurong Gateway and a leisure hotspot at Lakeside - could attract more large and global companies and the redevelopment of the International Business Park would further support this. As JTC Corporation also said yesterday, it plans to add another five hectares of land and raise plot ratios for some areas in the park.

    Knight Frank director of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak pointed out that multinational corporations do pay attention to where the workforce is when they pick a site for their headquarters or factories. 'To know that (workers) are all living around is good, there is a ready pool of labour,' he said.

    The announcements are also 'a signal to potential developers and investors that there is still land around the Jurong Lake area available,' he added.

    URA also provided more updates on the development of Jurong Lake District yesterday.

    For instance, dredging works to deepen the Jurong Lake for more water-based activities are already underway.

  2. #2
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    December 30, 2008 Tuesday

    Jurong to get more business space

    Expansion of business park will position Singapore for recovery

    By Jessica Cheam

    THE economic outlook is all gloom but the Government is already positioning Singapore for the next upturn by unveiling plans to beef up the supply of business park space in Jurong.

    Its ambitious move comes even as demand in the property sector has fallen dramatically in recent months while office rents have dipped.

    Industrial landlord JTC Corporation said yesterday it will develop 5ha south of the existing International Business Park. This will yield 125,000 sq m, or about 1.35 million sq ft, of rentable space.

    The development will help JTC 'secure investments and anchor key companies' in an effort to better place the economy for the next upturn, it said.

    Site surveys will start next month and infrastructure work, including improvements to the park's road networks, will begin in March. Two new road linkages to the Ayer Rajah Expressway and Pan-Island Expressway will be created.

    Companies can lease space in the business park from 2011, said JTC.

    Market watchers told The Straits Times that the Government is stimulating economic activity with the development while also seeking to avoid the kind of office space crunch that has hit businesses in recent years.

    The economic boom that preceded the financial crisis saw prime office rents double to almost $19 per sq ft last year. This sparked a scramble to build more office space, including government moves to release transitional office sites to relieve pent-up demand.

    While this has now led to concerns that Singapore could face an office space glut over the next two years, some analysts feel that early preparation of sites enables the market to respond faster when the economy does pick up.

    Colliers International's research and advisory director, Ms Tay Huey Ying, said she did not think there would be a glut, and that this 'will help in ensuring a U-shape recovery instead of a V-shape one when the global economy recovers'.

    CIMB-GK economist Song Seng Wun said government investment in public infrastructure like Jurong Island or Changi Airport during downturns has traditionally 'worked well for Singapore'.

    Even though the impact on economic output 'will not be massive', such work will benefit local firms, added Mr Song.

    The International Business Park - 21 land parcels of about 25ha - is Singapore's first such park. Established in 1992, it has drawn renowned tech firms such as Dell and Acer to set up shop.

    JTC said a review of the park's masterplan was timely as the Urban Redevelopment Authority had recently announced a dramatic makeover for Jurong in its 2008 Masterplan.

    The industrial town is to be redeveloped into Jurong Lake District - a 360ha mini metropolis of homes, hotels, shops, eateries and offices linked to the MRT via walkways and waterways.

    It will consist of Jurong Gateway, the up-and-coming commercial hub of the West, and Lakeside, which is being developed as a destination for young families, with tourist attractions and parks complemented by water activities.

    JTC said 'there is potential' for synergy between the expanded business park and the rejuvenated Jurong Gateway.

    Collier's Ms Tay agreed that more business park space will add critical mass and 'aid in the realisation of the Government's vision for the Jurong Lake District'.

    To complement the commercial developments, the surrounding housing estates will be rejuvenated by various statutory boards. This will mean upgrades to Teban and Pandan Gardens and the Faber Terrace areas in the next few years.

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    December 30, 2008 Tuesday

    From factories... Fusionopolis

    JTC Corp talks about how it has come this far since its birth in 1968

    By Joyce Teo

    MUCH was at stake when Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) workers started hacking away at the uninhabited jungles and marshlands of the Jurong area in 1968.

    The fate of not only the future industrial hub of Jurong, but also Singapore itself, might have been in the balance.

    'If JTC had failed, Singapore might have failed,' said Mr Ong Geok Soo, assistant chief executive of the body now known as JTC Corp, in a recent interview.

    He has been at JTC through almost all of its 40 years, and remembers well the early challenges.

    'We seeded the whole process. We developed Jurong town,' said Mr Ong. 'In the early days, JTC built roads, drains, sewers and worked with the Public Utilities Board to bring in power.'

    Fortunately, the pioneers at JTC were a gung-ho bunch. There were some 'daredevils' who went all out to get the project done.

    Back then, JTC was an all-round developer, building not only factories but even flats and gardens. It practically carved out Jurong town, and also built some of the flats in the area, which were later transferred to the Housing Board.

    Although few entrepreneurs were initially willing to invest in Jurong, it eventually attracted huge foreign investment.

    'In the early days, we had to build confidence and trust as we had to show investors we were credible. Customers were not yet at our door,' said Mr Ong.

    Slowly, more and more customers came. Then began JTC's evolution, from its founding purpose to develop the Jurong Industrial Estate, to a much wider role in Singapore's development.

    It began to build more no-frills low-rise factories elsewhere across the island in the 1970s.

    Then it moved on to building multi-storey factories and high-tech business parks. 'Customers became more sophisticated. They wanted labs, showrooms, warehouse space.'

    Gradually, the private sector was also able to provide and manage the same sort of space that JTC had been providing.

    That meant JTC had to do more. It then reclaimed land that was eventually offered to business clusters in need of space. Chemical firms were housed on Jurong Island and pharmaceutical players at Tuas Biomedical Park, for instance.

    Then, plans were laid out for the $15 billion one-north - a 200-ha self-contained research hub in Buona Vista promoting a 'work, live, learn and play' lifestyle. It is to be built over 15 to 20 years.

    JTC has played a key role in Singapore's move into research and development and product design, helping the nation keep up with the times by offering innovative products to attract investors.

    Since 2001, JTC has gone on to build Biopolis and then Fusionopolis at one-north. Media Park will follow.

    These clusters of intelligent, cutting-edge 'factories' are striking examples of how far JTC has come since 1968. The high-rise buildings boast green features and combine work with leisure.

    Apart from work spaces, the first phase of Fusionopolis, a $560 million two-tower-cum-podium development, has serviced apartments, shops and 13 public sky gardens, for instance. It even has a state-of-the art experimental theatre, which boasts a unique $380,000 timber beads-acoustic wall padding.

    Construction of the 30-ha Fusionopolis, which will stretch over at least six phases, started in 2003 when the Sars outbreak was taking its toll on the economy. 'We were prepared to put our money into it but nobody trusted us,' said Mr Philip Su, JTC's assistant chief executive.

    Market confidence was then at a low ebb so JTC wasn't sure if there would be takers for the space. Nevertheless, it forged ahead with the project, believing in its long-term potential. 'Now I've got a problem. I don't have enough space. Now, we have to launch phase 4,' said Mr Su.

    Due to a lack of space, JTC is also going underground to create more usable space for Singapore. It is building an underground oil storage facility called Jurong Rock Cavern, which will feature over 2.7 million cubic metres of storage space when completed.

    There are plans for an underground science city catering to research and development and an underground warehouse.

    Among its other new ideas is one which looks at housing business clusters in a high-rise complex. For instance, a car mart can be combined with warehousing and logistics facilities.

    These projects, which the private sector finds too big, complex and risky to handle, will be the focus of JTC in future.

    It recently sold $1.71 billion worth of its ready-built facilities to Mapletree Investments as it shifts focus to such strategic projects that will help take Singapore into the future.

    'In the early days, we had more flexibility as we had plenty of land,' said Mr Ong. 'Now, we are short of land so there's more planning, more thinking... We are less visible because Singapore is more developed now.'

    Nevertheless, there is always a place for JTC in Singapore, said Mr Ong.

    'Private developers won't be holding a lot of land and pumping money into, say, Seletar Air Base, at the start,' he said. 'They will want to see some seeding in place first.' JTC is turning Seletar into a business aviation hub.

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