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Possible developments at Ayer Rajah to make better use of space

At a recent forum, JTC revealed that it is studying the feasibility of having a 350-metre long, modern in-fill structure for business park usage.

SINGAPORE: The Ayer Rajah Industrial Estate in one-north could see developments that make better use of space. At a recent forum, JTC revealed that it is studying the feasibility of having a 350-metre long, modern in-fill structure for business park usage.

As Singapore is a land-scarce country, the organisation hopes to use innovative ideas to intensify land use, especially land within a built-up area. This will help to maintain a competitive edge for long-term and industrial development. 

Academics said that such ideas have been implemented in some private commercial buildings, and the engineering and technical expertise is present.

Associate Professor Sing Tien Foo from the Real Estate Department at the National University of Singapore, said: "In terms of the engineering, technical aspects, there is no problem given the current technology, to have this air space built above existing buildings. Technically it can be done, especially if you look at the Ayer Rajah site, there is still a lot of in-fill space between the buildings, so this makes it easier for them to build the structure.

“The other thing we need to consider is the economic or financial feasibility of this project. One issue that people will normally consider when looking at air space is in areas where the land costs is very high, especially where land supply is inelastic in areas close to the city. The high land costs can justify the increase in construction cost in this type of infrastructure."

Ku Swee Yong, CEO of Century 21 Singapore, said: "The demand side of the equation then could be slightly different. Even if we have disregarded the time during the construction of these additional few floors on top of the building, if we have disregarded the inconvenience costs to the existing users, would there be tenants who are willing to take industrial floor space that is above 10 storeys? 

“Right now, it would seem like demand could only come from a smaller segment of industrial users, such as those handling testing and analytical services, such as research and biotechnology, or even media and software developments. They might be able to accept higher floors because their logistics does not require very heavy lifting of goods going in and out on a daily basis. So the demand then is not that large.

"However, in very popular locations for industrial users, such as Ayer Rajah, such as the International Business Park, where new land is scarce but demand is healthy and strong, perhaps this is a very good way of increasing floor area without having to demolish the old buildings to rebuild." 

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