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High hopes: Singapore's upcoming tallest building aims to rejuvenate Tanjong Pagar

The 290m-high Tanjong Pagar Centre "will act as a catalyst in accelerating the rejuvenation and transformation of Tanjong Pagar District into a business and lifestyle hub in the CBD", says the President and CEO of developer GuocoLand Group. 

SINGAPORE: The developer of Tanjong Pagar Centre is pinning its hopes on its latest development to be at the heart of efforts to rejuvenate the Tanjong Pagar District, according to President and CEO of GuocoLand Group, Mr Raymond Choong.

Mr Choong was speaking at the development’s topping up ceremony on Wednesday (Jan 13), which was attended by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

"Tanjong Pagar Centre makes two key contributions to the Singapore city. It will act as a catalyst in accelerating the rejuvenation and transformation of Tanjong Pagar District into a business and lifestyle hub in the CBD," said Mr Choong. "Additionally, its 'Integrated Vertical Living' design concept offers a model for Singapore’s urban future."

Calling the building "GuocoLand Group’s S$3.2 billion flagship development in Singapore", Mr Choong said that it will add to the group's "growing portfolio of large-scale integrated mixed-use investment properties in Singapore and the region".

"This is in line with GuocoLand’s growth strategy to grow our investment income through iconic mixed developments in selected gateway cities in Asia," he added.

GuocoLand hopes that when completed, its project will spur developments in the vicinity.

"This Tanjong Pagar area has already been earmarked as one of the hubs from the CBD area; and then in the last few years, we have seen quite a number of new developments, offices, hotels, residential, commercial coming up in the area," said Mr Cheng Hsing Yao, managing director of GuocoLand.

"With Tanjong Pagar Centre coming up, we'll have a big grade A office, residential, hotel, retail as well as a big urban park. This will bring in a lot more traffic into the area. At the same time, it will also uplift the infrastructure, the facilities and amenities for the district," he added.

SINGAPORE'S NEW TALLEST BUILDING

At 290 metres high, Tanjong Pagar Centre is set to be Singapore’s tallest building. The mixed-use development will combine 890,000 square feet of office space, 100,000 square feet of retail, a park with more than 200 hotel rooms and 181 residences.

UOB Plaza, Republic Plaza and One Raffles Place are about 280 metres high.

GuocoLand said the take-up rate for its office space in Guoco Tower to date is approximately 10 per cent, with tenants including DNB Asia, Hong Leong Bank and Regus. 

Meanwhile, leasing commitments for its retail space is at 60 per cent, with the developers having secured an anchor lifestyle/retail tenant in Virgin Active.

For its hotel component, GuocoLand has signed an agreement with AccorHotels to manage its hotel. Named Sofitel Singapore City Centre, the hotel is expected to open in the third quarter of 2016.

The TOP (Temporary Occupation Permit) for Tanjong Pagar Centre is scheduled for mid-2016. 

TAKE-UP RATE "REFLECTIVE OF CURRENT MARKET TRENDS"

GuocoLand said the take-up rate is reflective of current market trends, but it added that there is still demand for new office space, although the size required tends to be smaller than in the past. 

"The market is not as exuberant as what we saw a few years ago," said Mr Cheng. "But certainty the market is still active. There are various sectors that are still growing or restacking. So the office market is still having some activities. We are not seeing as many very huge, large anchors but at the same time, we are seeing quite a vibrant demand for half floor, full floor or maybe two floors kind of tenants."

Property services firm JLL is slightly more optimistic about the office segment, despite potential competition from the Marina Bay area.

"Tanjong Pagar coming up this year is very important," said Mr Chris Fossick, managing director (Singapore and Southeast Asia) at JLL. "Of course the Marina area later this year and going into next year has some additional supply coming in, but at the moment, the occupancy islandwide in Singapore is about 95 per cent, so it's pretty high."

"We need new space to accommodate the expansion and we also need new space for people to move into if they feel their older buildings can no longer accommodate their needs," he noted.

GuocoLand said it will start actively selling the apartments in Tanjong Pagar Centre when the project is fully completed.