Tanjong Pagar Centre — GuocoLand’s crowning glory

By Michael Lim / The Edge Property | February 3, 2016 10:00 AM SGT
GuocoLand held the topping-out ceremony of its $3.2 billion Tanjong Pagar Centre on Jan 13. Standing at 290m, it is Singapore’s tallest tower and the latest landmark at Tanjong Pagar.
The mixed-use scheme will have a total of 1.7 million sq ft when completed and will be integrated with the Tanjong Pagar MRT interchange station. The development will have 890,000 sq ft of office space (Guoco Tower); 100,000 sq ft of retail space; 181 luxury apartments — Wallich Residence; the 222-room Sofitel Singapore City Centre; and a 150,000 sq ft landscaped urban park.
Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund took a 20% stake in Tanjong Pagar Centre five years ago. Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, CEO of EPF, attended the ceremony, along with Singapore’s Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.
The giant mixed-use scheme will be completed in phases. The office and retail components are expected to be completed in 2H2016, followed by the hotel, which is scheduled to open towards year-end. The residential block will be the last phase to be completed.
Slow take-up of office space According to GuocoLand, tenants that have signed up for office space at Tanjong Pagar Centre include DNB Asia (subsidiary of Norway’s largest financial services group DNB Bank ASA), Hong Leong Bank, GuocoLand Group, trading and risk management solutions provider Open Link and serviced office provider Regus, resulting in a take-up rate of 10%.
“The days of a mega tenant taking up 50% to 70% in a building are gone,” says Cheng Hsing Yao, managing director of GuocoLand (Singapore). In the current economic climate, office landlords prefer to have a diversified tenant base. The office space at Guoco Tower is seeing interest from occupiers looking at half a floor to two whole floors. Such tenants are more likely to commit closer to completion, he adds. Guoco Tower’s premium office floor plates measure 27,000 to 30,000 sq ft.
“A 10% office space pre-commitment six months before TOP is quite normal,” says Chris Fossick, JLL’s managing director for Singapore and Southeast Asia. Serious discussions are underway for another 40% of the space.
By contrast, the retail space at Tanjong Pagar Centre has achieved a 60% pre-commitment level. Fitness club Virgin Active is the anchor tenant and will take up 31,000 sq ft (31%) of the retail space.
Artist's impression of Tanjong Pagar Centre
Rebranding of hotel, residences
The hotel and residences at Tanjong Pagar Centre were previously branded Clermont, an extension of The Clermont Club, a members-only casino in Mayfair, London. The club is owned and operated by Clermont Leisure (UK) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GuocoLeisure, a sister company of GuocoLand.
The rebranding of the hotel to Sofitel and the residences to Wallich Residence took place last November. “Both companies [GuocoLand and Guoco- Leisure] felt that it may be too early to bring the Clermont brand to Asia,” explains Cheng. “We wanted a strong hotel group with a strong international network.” That led to its appointment of AccorGroup as the hotel management company and the re-branding of the hotel to Sofitel a week ago.
The residential component was renamed Wallich Residence, as it sits on Wallich Street. This is in line with GuocoLand’s approach to turn its luxury residences into place makers — for instance Goodwood Residence on Bukit Timah Road, which overlooks Goodwood Hill, and Leedon Residence on Leedon Heights.
So far, 16 of 54 units released at Wallich Residence have been sold at an average of $3,100 psf. The units are a mix of one- to four-bedroom apartments measuring 614 to 2,034 sq ft. The residential block takes up the 39th to 64th floors, and is crowned by a triplex super penthouse of 21,108 sq ft. GuocoLand’s Cheng says the price of the super penthouse has yet to be finalised. Two years ago, it was tagged at $30 million.
GuocoLand will launch the residences closer to completion so that potential buyers can appreciate the quality of the final product, says Cheng. “We saw that happen with Goodwood Residence and Leedon Residence.” Both Goodwood Residence and Leedon Residence were launched when they were completed and they emerged the best-selling high-end condos in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Cheng is confident that Wallich Residence will draw a similar response upon completion.
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This article appeared in the City & Country of Issue 711 (Jan 18, 2016) of The Edge Singapore.