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Singapore's CBD sees shifting mix of tenants: Jones Lang LaSalle

Tech companies such as Google and LinkedIn have been opening new offices or expanding existing ones in the city-state, Jones Lang LaSalle said in an article posted on its website.

SINGAPORE: Over the last three years, the global financial firms that dominated 60 per cent of office space in Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) have given up 500,000 square feet (sq ft) in space. Taking their places are big names from the e-commerce, consumer products and insurance industries, according to real estate group Jones Lang LaSalle.

“Ten years ago all anyone wanted was financial houses because they saw them as a growing industry that had the ability to pay,” Mr Chris Archibold, Head of Markets for Jones Lang LaSalle in Singapore​, said. “Now any intelligent asset manager wants a bit more of a mix.”

IT: THE NEW OFFICE SPACE GRABBERS

Tech companies like Twitter, Booking.com and eBay have been opening new offices or expanding existing ones in Singapore, Jones Lang LaSalle said in an article posted on its website. PayPal has placed its international headquarters in the city, while Facebook is looking to double its space and LinkedIn is taking up the 50,000 sq ft of space vacated by Barclays.

Google has expanded six times and its Asia-Pacific headquarters now span four floors at Asia Square in Marina Bay. The building, which also houses re-insurers such as Swiss Re and SCOR, has 400 bicycle racks and showers so staff of the search engine operator can bike to work.

“You have this very bizarre dichotomy of Citibank bankers in their shiny shoes and guys in flip flops and shorts in the same elevator,” said Mr Hugh Andrew, the head of asset management for Asia Pacific at BlackRock. BlackRock owns the building via one of its funds.

LIFESTYLE A DRAW

Singapore’s pleasant lifestyle has made it a draw for companies looking to attract top talent, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. For instance, cosmetics company L’Oreal moved many of its Asian operations from Shanghai to Singapore, one motive being the need to retain senior staff who demand higher standards of living and better education for their children.

Other companies which have moved to Singapore include General Motors, which moved its Asian headquarters from Shanghai, taking over 30,000 sq ft of space from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The insurer Aon is also building its Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore and toy-maker Lego is in the Marina Bay Financial Centre.

“For modern companies with young employees, they will want to know answers to questions such as ‘will I be working in a sustainable environment?’” Mr Andrew said. “Twenty years ago, people were just wondering how big their office was going to be, and if it came with a parking space?”

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