Published February 3, 2010


Tanjong Pagar unlikely to threaten Raffles Place


THE possible makeover of Tanjong Pagar into a new waterfront district is unlikely to threaten Raffles Place and Marina Bay as businesses' preferred locations, market watchers say.

New waterfront city: The redeveloped Tanjong Pagar is expected to have residential, retail and mixed use developments

BT got some property consultants to gaze into the crystal ball and share some views on what the redeveloped area could look like after 2027. The belief was that more residential, retail and mixed use developments would take root in Tanjong Pagar, while Raffles Place and Marina Bay would form the heart of the business district.

'There have been a lot of times when Raffles Place was being threatened by the development of other financial centres, for instance, Suntec,' said Cushman & Wakefield Singapore managing director Donald Han. But he felt that companies would still prefer to be in Raffles Place because of the 'prestigious nature of the address'.

Tanjong Pagar came under the spotlight yesterday after the Economic Strategies Committee suggested redeveloping port land at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel and Pulau Brani after the port's lease at terminals there expires in 2027.

There is potential to create a new waterfront district spanning some 300 hectares. It would be almost comparable in size to Marina Bay, which measures around 360 ha.

Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) South-east Asia research head Chua Yang Liang foresees Tanjong Pagar housing more mixed use developments. The commercial district at Raffles Place is likely to grow eastward to Marina Bay, rather than southward to Tanjong Pagar, he said.

But he notes that if demand for offices is strong then, the commercial district in HarbourFront could extend into Tanjong Pagar.

Chesterton Suntec International research and consultancy director Colin Tan believes that the new Tanjong Pagar will have more residential and retail developments. 'It's unlikely to compete with Marina Bay, which will be the new office belt,' he says.

Cushman & Wakefield's Mr Han added that ongoing renewal at Raffles Place will keep businesses interested in the area. For instance, a new Straits Trading Building has come up in place of the old one, and Ocean Financial Centre is also taking shape.

While Tanjong Pagar holds huge potential for redevelopment, it will be quite some time before actual work begins. 'It's a concept. The market will in some way recognise that. But I don't think (there will be much capitalising of) the value at this moment because there are no firm plans,' says JLL's Dr Chua.