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Paya Lebar Central set to become major commercial centre

The project is part of broader decentralisation plans by the authorities to create commercial clusters outside the city centre, in providing jobs closer to homes, and reducing congestion and travelling times to and from the city centre.  

SINGAPORE: Paya Lebar Central is set to become a major commercial centre at the city fringe, as part of plans by the authorities to create commercial clusters outside the city centre.

The Paya Lebar Central site comprises two adjacent parcels separated by Sims Avenue and the Geylang Canal. Australian developer Lend Lease will own about 30 per cent of the joint venture, with the rest owned by its investment partner, sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

Lend Lease said Thursday (May 14) it already has a "clear picture" of the design for the Paya Lebar Central project, but it will still have to work with authorities for the final design.

It said more than half - approximately 90,000 square metres (sqm) - will be reserved for office space. Also, 29,000 sqm will be set aside for about 440 private homes and more than 40,000 sqm will be used for a shopping mall. The 3.9-hectare site has a total gross floor area of 165,000 sqm.

The decentralisation plans by authorities aims to provide jobs closer to homes, and reduce congestion and travelling times to and from the city centre.

“It’s a central hub, as a mixed-use development, where people can live, work and play, and minimise the reliance on car transport, ideally,” said Asia CEO of Lend Lease, Mr Rod Leaver. “Because of the nature of the site, which has the canal running through, we are able to create an amazing public space, public realm which we can activate for the creation of a place the community can use."

Lend Lease said it plans to bring in new retail brands. The developer already manages several other shopping malls in Singapore, including Parkway Parade, 313@Somerset and JEM in Jurong East.

JEM is the third largest suburban mall in Singapore and Lend Lease said it currently has no plans to expand its retail foothold in that area, even with the upcoming developments there. Instead, the firm would like to focus on existing developments.

"One of the challenges we have is that Paya Lebar is a significant development,” said Mr Leaver. “It's one of our largest mixed-use urban regeneration projects in Singapore. And at the same time, for our Asia business, we have just recently won a significant development in TRX - the lifestyle quarter - in Malaysia. So we have a reasonably full book at the moment."

The Lifestyle Quarter in TRX is expected to contain a mixed-use development of over 17 acres, comprising a hotel, three residential towers and a new retail mall.

Still, Lend Lease said it has "some interest" in the commercial and residential projects, which may come up at the site of the High-Speed Rail terminus. The terminus will only occupy 20 per cent of the site, with the remaining 80 per cent to include offices, retail space, and maybe even homes.