Paya Lebar Green: Certis headquarters redevelopment marks fresh chapter in Paya Lebar rejuvenation

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
A redevelopment of the Certis Cisco Centre, Paya Lebar Green will create around 220,000 sq ft of Grade-A office space (Picture: Paya Lebar Green)
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Integrated services provider Certis has evolved significantly since it was founded 64 years ago. Originally associated with the provision of security and auxiliary police services, the company, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, has transformed over the years into a more tech-focused solutions provider.
The onset of the pandemic has further accelerated Certis’ evolution. Today, in addition to a wide spectrum of physical and tech-enabled security solutions, it also offers a broader suite of services covering integrated facilities management, business process outsourcing and other technology services.
It’s fitting then, that Certis’ evolution is reflected in a transformation of its physical offices. For the last 36 years, the company has occupied Certis Cisco Centre, its headquarters located along Jalan Afifi in the Paya Lebar area. Situated on a 130,211 sq ft site, the property comprises an eight-storey office building that opened in 1986 and a seven-storey building that was completed in the 1990s. Zoned for commercial use, the site has a 30- year revolving lease from 2013.
In April of last year, Certis was reported to be partnering Lendlease to redevelop Certis Cisco Centre. The companies formed a joint trust to acquire the site, which was purchased for $150 million or $1,152 psf based on the land area, according to a caveat lodged in March.
Earlier this month, details of the redevelopment were finally unveiled, including a new name: Paya Lebar Green. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Dec 1 at the rooftop of Aqueen Hotel Paya Lebar, a neighbouring property that overlooks the site.
The groundbreaking ceremony was officiated by Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, who described the project as an “important project and partnership”. “The new Paya Lebar Green will add to the vibrancy of Paya Lebar Central, by providing more opportunities for jobs, businesses, and create more public spaces for the area,” he said during a speech at the event. Paya Lebar Green is just a five-minute walk away from Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ), Lendlease’s $3.7 billion integrated development that is linked to the Paya Lebar MRT Interchange.
Minister for National Development Desmond Lee (centre, in black), toasting the groundbreaking for Paya Lebar Green with (from left) Justin Gabbani, CEO, Asia, Lendlease; Tony Lombardo, global CEO, Lendlease; Will Hodgeman, Australian High Commissioner to Singapore; Olivier Lim, chairman, Certis; Paul Chong, president and group CEO, Certis; Goh Soo Lim, group CFO, Certis; and Ng Hsueh Ling, managing director, Singapore and chairman, Lendlease Global Commercial Trust Management (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

Future-ready workplace

For Olivier Lim, chairman of Certis, the redevelopment of the company’s headquarters is a milestone that has been a long time in the making. “It symbolises far more than the mere re-building of an office tower — it shares many important characteristics, capabilities and culture of Certis’ broader evolution,” he said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
According to the joint-venture partners, the development strategy for Paya Lebar Green rests on five pillars — health and wellness; a people-centric workplace; collaboration and connection; a green and smart building; and sustainability. Building on these pillars, Paya Lebar Green is envisioned to be a future-proof workplace that will further enhance Paya Lebar Central’s positioning as a city-fringe commercial hub.
The site of the Paya Lebar Green development, where a new 12-storey building will be built, while an existing eight-storey building (left) will be extensively refurbished (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
One of the property’s two blocks has been torn down to make way for a new, 12-storey building. The other block, spanning eight storeys, will be extensively refurbished. Upon completion in 2024, Paya Lebar Green will create about 220,000 sq ft of Grade-A office space. Besides serving as Certis’ global headquarters, a proportion of the office space will be leased out to tenants. The two buildings will share a brand new main entrance and will be connected through a link bridge on the second floor.
The lobby will have an F&B outlet, and end-of-trip facilities, including bicycle parking lots, lockers and shower facilities, will be available. Certis will incorporate its own smart building solutions into Paya Lebar Green, including Mozart — a proprietary platform that leverages artificial intelligence, sensors and robotics for security and facilities management of buildings.
One of the key decisions made for Paya Lebar Green was the relocation of the site’s entrance from Jalan Afifi, directly off Paya Lebar Road, to Eunos Road 8, a quieter lane parallel to a canal that runs alongside the site. Besides allowing for better traffic flow and pedestrian access, the reconfiguration allows for more public space to be integrated into Paya Lebar Green.
new canal park and green plane at Paya Lebar Green - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Artist’s impression of the new canal park and green plane at Paya Lebar Green (Picture: Paya Lebar Green)
A covering will be constructed over the canal, creating ample room for a new main entrance and drop-off point leading to the office lobby. The space will also be used to create a park filled with landscaping that will serve as a communal area. Tony Lombardo, global CEO of Lendlease, notes that the idea to cover the canal emulates PLQ, where the developer constructed a public plaza over a canal that runs through the site. Speaking at the Paya Lebar Green groundbreaking ceremony, he noted the importance of creating such spaces especially in land-scarce Singapore. “It makes a big difference for the community.”
That awareness for placemaking and catering to the needs of the community has underpinned Lendlease’s success with PLQ. The integrated development, which includes about a million sq ft of Grade-A office space, 340,000 sq ft of retail space and the fully-sold 429-unit Park Place Residences, has become a thriving testament to the rejuvenation of the wider Paya Lebar area. Highlighting that the office and retail space at PLQ have been nearly 100% leased, Lombardo adds that the development further affirms URA’s vision to decentralise the CBD.

Green building

A large focus of the redevelopment is sustainability and energy efficiency. It is aiming to attain the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark 2021 Platinum Super Low Energy certification, the highest sustainability accreditations awarded by the BCA. Sustainable construction methods will be employed, including the use of modular construction for Paya Lebar Green’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing system, as well as prefabrication solutions. As part of its goal of minimising environmental impact, the project is targeting to hit an 80% overall recycling rate for construction and demolition waste.
reception area at Paya Lebar Geen - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Artist's impression of the reception area at Paya Lebar Geen (Picture: Paya Lebar Green)
Richard Paine, head of development, Singapore at Lendlease, notes that the decision to refurbish one of the buildings instead of demolishing it was made in consideration of Certis’ specialised facilities and systems that are housed in the building. Conceding that it will be challenging to bring an aged commercial building up to spec to meet super low-energy requirements, he shares that the building will undergo extensive retrofitting, including the installation of double-glazed glass, rooftop solar panels and climate-responsive Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. (Find Singapore commercial properties with our commercial directory)
Paine, who has also worked on PLQ, views Paya Lebar Green’s push for sustainability as a standout element of the project. “We’re proud of this notion of regeneration in a much more efficient way,” he says.

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