Has the west BEEN FORGOTTEN?

The Jurong Lake District has seen little action in the recent en bloc cycle, but upcoming launches could offer opportunities to ride on the growth of Singapore’s second CBD
Panorama taken by a drone at Twin Vew’s site
(Image credit: CSC Land)
An area that seems to have escaped notice amid the en bloc fever is the Jurong Lake District, which spans 360ha in the west of Singapore and is being developed into the city state’s second CBD. While 51 sites have been sold for a total of $14.6 billion since 2017, none of them are located in JLD. And among the collective sale sites launched for tender, only Park View Mansions is located in the district.
Alice Tan, head of consultancy and research at Knight Frank Singapore, says that, over the last 10 years, the stock of private residential units in the West Region grew the least among all the planning regions in Singapore. This means inherent advantages for new residential developments in the region, especially in JLD, compared with those elsewhere, says Tan. It also means that the ageing developments in the area have high redevelopment potential.
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Ageing developments in JLD include the 120-unit Lakeside Apartments (above) and the 144-unit Lakeside Towers
Adjacent to Park View Mansions is the 120-unit Lakeside Apartments, which is next to the 144-unit Lakeside Towers. Both are 99-year leasehold properties completed in 1981 and 1983, respectively.
Located across Jurong Lake from Park View Mansions is privatised HUDC estate Ivory Heights, which is in the process of gathering approval from the owners for an en bloc sale, according to marketing agent SLP International in October 2017. The site, located near the Jurong East MRT station, has not been launched for sale, although a reserve price of $1.34 billion has been set. The land rate is $979 psf per plot ratio, based on the existing gross floor area (GFA), which translates into a plot ratio of 1.86, and including an estimated $160 million for a fresh 99-year lease. Ivory Heights is also close to Jurong Country Club, which was closed at end-2016 to make way for the upcoming High Speed Rail (HSR) terminus.
The successful collective sale of Park View Mansions will lift prices of private homes in JLD
According to marketing agent Huttons Asia, the owners of the 160-unit Park View Mansions have set a reserve price of $320 million, or a land rate of $1,183 psf ppr, including an estimated $157 million payable to the government to intensify the GFA and for a fresh 99-year lease. The tender closes on April 20 and, if a deal is struck, the redevelopment project could be sold at between $1,800 and $1,900 psf, which will lift prices of private homes in JLD, says Tan.
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Existing developments
The master plan for JLD, previously known as Jurong Regional Centre, was released in 2008 as part of the government’s push to grow employment outside the CBD. A new master plan was unveiled last August to transform JLD into a smart and sustainable mixed-use business district to support Singapore’s next phase of economic transformation.
In addition to IMM Mall, which has 961,281 sq ft of retail space, four new malls — JCube, Jem, Westgate and Big Box — have sprung up around the Jurong East MRT station in recent years.
A redevelopment of the previous Jurong Entertainment Centre, JCube was opened in April 2012. It has 210,000 sq ft of retail space and houses Singapore’s first Olympic-size ice skating rink.
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Four new malls — JCube, Jem (pictured), Westgate and Big Box — have sprung up around Jurong East MRT station in recent years
Jem, which houses 241 shops across its 818,000 sq ft of retail space, opened a year later, in June 2013. That was followed by the opening of Westgate in December that year. The integrated development comprises a seven-storey mall with 410,000 sq ft of retail space and a 20-storey office tower.
Located on a 5.6ha site, Big Box is the largest project built under the Economic Development Board’s Warehouse Retail Scheme, which allows industrial land to be used for retail and warehousing. The mall houses 400,000 sq ft of retail space, including a hypermart on the ground floor, which is home to Singapore’s biggest indoor wet market.
Located between IMM Mall and Big Box is the Jurong Health Campus, comprising the 700-bed Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and the 400- bed Jurong Community Hospital. Opened in 2015, they are the first hospitals in Singapore to be designed and built together as an integrated development to complement each other and offer better patient care, efficiency and convenience.
Conceptualised as a “hotel in a garden”, the 15-storey Genting Hotel Jurong, which is within walking distance of the Jurong East MRT station, opened in April 2015. It offers 557 rooms and is home to 70 species of shrubs and 20 species of trees and palms. Its facilities include a ballroom that can accommodate 300 people and five meeting rooms. There is also a sky terrace where guests can take in views of JLD.
New projects fully sold
Most of the new projects launched in the area over the last few years have been fully sold, says Tan. Adjacent to Westgate is J Gateway, a 99-year leasehold condominium by MCL Land. Riding the development of JLD and as the first condo to be launched in the area in 10 years, J Gateway sold all of its 738 units in a single day when the project was previewed in June 2013. The average selling price was $1,480 psf, and a 484 sq ft one-bedroom unit fetched $1,778 psf — a record for the area. J Gateway was completed in 2016 and the most recent transaction involved a 678 sq ft, two-bedroom unit that changed hands for $1.25 million ($1,843 psf) on March 9. The price is 15% higher than the $1.09 million ($1,605 psf) paid by the seller in 2013.
The most recent transaction at J Gateway involved a 678 sq ft, two-bedroom unit that changed hands at a 15% profit
Another project that is fully sold is the 696-unit Lakeville, where developer MCL Land moved 180 units at an average price of $1,300 psf on its first day of sales in April 2014. Lakeville sits on a 99-year leasehold site located across Boon Lay Way from Jurong Lake.
Adjacent to Lakeville is the 710- unit Lake Grande, also developed by MCL Land. Over its launch weekend in July 2016, 436 units were sold at an average price of $1,368 psf. The condo overlooks Jurong Lake and is within walking distance of the Lakeside MRT station. It was fully sold in less than two years and is slated for completion in 2020.
Artist’s impression of Twin Vew, which is expected to be launched in April
(Image credit: CSC Land)
Those keen to buy in the area this year can consider the upcoming launch of Twin Vew, says Tan. The 520-unit condo at West Coast Vale will be the first development by CSC Land, a subsidiary of conglomerate China State Construction Engineering Corp. In February 2017, the developer submitted the winning bid of $292 million ($592 psf ppr) for the hotly contested Government Land Sales site that drew nine bids. Its bid for the 176,295 sq ft site was just 0.7% above the second highest. CSC Land is expected to launch the project in April.
Twin Vew is adjacent to EL Development’s Parc Riviera, which has a total of 752 units. The 99-year leasehold project was launched for sale in November 2016 and fully sold in less than a year.
Across the road from Parc Riviera is a another GLS site whose tender closed on Jan 30. City Developments submitted the top bid of $472.4 million ($800 psf ppr) for the 210,881 sq ft site, which can yield an estimated 730 units. The project is likely to be launched for sale next year.
Catalysts for growth
The completed JLD, which is set to transform the west of Singapore, will offer more than 100,000 new jobs and 20,000 new homes, says URA. It will also be home to the largest local collection of water lilies. More than 140 varieties will be showcased at the Jurong Lake Gardens, which is undergoing further development that is set to be completed progressively from 2020.
Slated for completion by 2025, the 20km Jurong Region Line will provide better connectivity both within the region and with the rest of the island.
Billed as a game changer that will affect the way Singaporeans and Malaysians live, work and play, the HSR project is expected to be completed in 2026. It will take just 90 minutes to travel the 350km separating Kuala Lumpur’s Bandar Malaysia and Singapore’s Jurong East, opening up new possibilities for business and leisure in both countries.
The Cross Island Line (CRL), expected to be completed in 2030, will provide a faster commute from Jurong to Changi and serve an estimated 600,000 riders daily. It will also connect all of the existing MRT lines, with about half of the 30-plus CRL stations being interchange stations.
The next phase of JLD’s development, including new offices, housing, hotels, retail, F&B and other leisure offerings, will take place around the HSR station, according to URA. The HSR and Jurong East MRT stations will be connected by a pedestrian mall, which will form the main commercial spine along which the second CBD will grow. The Ministry of Transport and the Land Transport Authority have also announced plans to be housed together in a new building adjacent to the Jurong East MRT station.
First announced in 2012, the Tuas mega port will be opened progressively from 2021 and eventually consolidate operations from the current Pasir Panjang, Tanjong Pagar, Keppel and Brani container terminals. When fully completed by 2040, it will be twice the size of Ang Mo Kio town and be able to handle up to 65 million twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo yearly, about double the 33.7 TEUs handled in Singapore last year. The developments are expected to catalyse the growth of the JLD when they are completed, says Tan.
According to Tan, prices for both new sale and resale non-landed private residential properties in the West Region of Singapore more than doubled between the trough in 1Q2009 and the peak in 3Q2013, but they have been flattish since (see chart).
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Last year, the average transacted price in the West Region was $1,112 psf, putting it in third place after the Central Region’s $1,610 psf and North East Region’s $1,129 psf. Although the figure is higher than the $1,090 psf in the East Region and $1,067 psf in the North Region, “the West Region presents a more optimistic investment opportunity for buyers, in view of the government’s plans for JLD, construction of new infrastructure such as the Jurong Region Line and Cross Island Line, as well as the upcoming High Speed Rail”, says Tan.