To rent three units to run his workshops at Sin Ming Industrial Estate, Mr Mike Keh now pays $6,000 a month per unit.
From early next year, he may have to pay $8,800 per unit at the new Sin Ming AutoCity.
It follows a move to relocate tenants of Blocks 11 to 21, 27 and 34 in the estate to the high-rise industrial building. The relocation was announced in 2010, under the Housing Board's Industrial Redevelopment Programme which aims to make better use of land.
In all, 154 tenants will be relocated to the new Sin Ming AutoCity.
Mr Keh's units are at blocks 19 and 21. He said although rents at the new building are cheaper on higher floors, his workshops serve heavy vehicles and have to be located on the ground floor.
One high-profile tenant that has moved out is not a workshop, but popular restaurant New Ubin Seafood. It closed its Sin Ming premises on Oct 30 and reopened yesterday in the west instead, in the Lam Soon Industrial Building canteen at 63 Hillview Avenue.
Mr Bernard Sim, who runs BVO Automotive at Block 15, said higher rents will add further pressure to an industry that has been facing slow demand.
"It would be good if the authorities could do something to help the small and medium-sized firms at this point in time," he added .
Singapore Motor Workshop Association president Francis Lim said that the HDB has been in regular dialogues with tenants, but agreed that cost pressures are a grave concern in the current market.
He noted, however, that the replacement units are larger.
In response to queries, the HDB said that existing units have a typical floor area of 123 sq m.
In contrast, the new motor workshop units come in two types: one which ranges from 216 sq m to 225 sq m, and another which ranges from 320 sq m to 345 sq m. The new heavy vehicle workshop units range from 251 sq m to 279 sq m.
Mr Keh acknowledged that the new units he will be renting at Sin Ming AutoCity are larger at 265 sq m, compared with the units he rents now which are around 185 sq m.
It is not the first time Sin Ming Industrial Estate tenants have had to move. In earlier batches of the programme, tenants were relocated to Shimei East Kitchen and Sin Ming Autocare. The eight-storey Sin Ming AutoCity complex now sits on part of the vacated site from those previous moves.
The 2.1ha complex will have a canteen, 14 heavy vehicle workshops, 117 motor workshops and 30 spray-painting units.
Tenants selected their replacement units in April last year and will receive their keys starting from mid-January next year.
Once tenancy of the replacement unit starts, they have three months to vacate their old premises.
Most motor workshops there do plan to take up the replacement units, said Mr Lim. "Those which leave are the ones (whose owners) were looking to retire or have no successor."
One high-profile tenant that will be moving out is not a workshop, but popular restaurant New Ubin Seafood.
Its last day of operation at Sin Ming will be November 13, and it will reopen a few days later in the west instead, in the Lam Soon Industrial Building canteen at 63 Hillview Avenue.
Asked about plans for the newly vacated land, the HDB did not give details but said that based on the Urban Redevelopment Authority's Master Plan 2014, the site vacated by Blocks 11 to 21 and 27 is zoned for residential use.
Block 34 is on land zoned for "Business 1" use, which includes light industry and warehouse use.
Correction note: An earlier version of the story stated that New Ubin Seafood has already moved out of Sin Ming Industrial Estate. The restaurant will be moving out on Nov 13 instead and reopen a few days later.