Jurong property owners cheer news of high-speed rail terminus

Siting the high-speed rail terminus in the Jurong Lake District will deliver higher property prices and rev up commercial and retail activity in the area, said experts yesterday.

They also noted after yesterday's announcement that the district is already well set up to take advantage of the boost.

The Jurong East location - at the interchange of the East-West, North-South and upcoming Jurong Region MRT lines - makes it highly convenient for commuters.

It is a rich hunting ground for business as well.

Jurong Gateway, with 500,000 sq m of offices, 250,000 sq m of retail, food and beverage and entertainment space and 2,800 hotel rooms, will become "the most ideal suburban location for company headquarters, business services, education and science and technology sectors", said Ms Christine Li, research director at Cushman & Wakefield, yesterday.

The moderate occupancy costs that come with a decentralised location would attract multinational corporations, said Mr Desmond Sim, CBRE head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia.

Many companies in various sectors have already moved in, said Ms Li. New entrants could be businesses in Malaysia, particularly companies from places such as Nusajaya, Malaccaand Batu Pahat - stops on the high-speed line.

Owners of commercial and industrial assets in the area cheered yesterday's announcement.

Retailers are rubbing their hands with glee too, noting that the Jurong area will become attractive to a "larger catchment of shoppers and office workers with new developments including the high-speed rail terminal", said Ms Jenny Khoo, general manager of Jem, a mixed-use development.

Spokesmen for the managers of real estate investment trusts with assets in the International Business Park in Jurong East said their tenants would benefit from the added accessibility and vibrancy.

An official at Mapletree Industrial Trust said it anticipated higher demand for space at its two buildings when the rail line is completed.

MCL Land, which is developing Lakeville in Jurong West Street 41, won a neighbouring condominium site in March.

Chief executive Koh Teck Chuan said it looks forward to attracting more international buyers for the two projects.

Non-landed property prices in Jurong in the first quarter fell about 8 per cent from the final three months of 2014 to an average of $947.15 per sq ft due to cooling measures, but average non-landed rents rose about 6 per cent over the same period to $3.30 psf per month, said PropNex Realty chief executive Mohd Ismail Gafoor. He added that "property prices in this developing region are expected to slowly appreciate over the next decade".

wrennie@sph.com.sg