Category Archives: Office / Retail / Industrial

Seletar to get a boost from new mall

ON TOP of its rich history as the former site for the British naval and air bases, the Seletar district is also an up-and-coming neighbourhood.

The shopping prospects are about to get a much-needed jolt in the form of the upcoming Seletar Mall, while a range of housing options is also emerging in the wake of the new aerospace park.

The four-storey mall at the junction of Sengkang West Avenue and Fernvale Road opens soon. It has already secured tenants for more than 90 per cent of its space. These include FairPrice Finest supermarket, Shaw Theatres and Foodfare, as well as big brands Uniqlo, BHG and Amore Fitness.

Seletar Mall, which also has two basement levels of retail, comes with a gross floor area of 284,000 sq ft and net lettable area of 188,000 sq ft.

The project is a joint venture between Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and United Engineers Developments.

Mr Wong Xian Yang, manager of research and consultancy at OrangeTee, noted that the mall would be welcomed by residents as it is in a “still-sleepy” area with few retail offerings.

“The good tenant mix will also liven things up in the district, appealing especially to young families living there,” he added.

Other malls in the vicinity include Fernvale Point in Sengkang West, Greenwich V in Seletar Close and Ang Mo Kio Hub in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3.

Property consultants told The Straits Times that they expect buying interest in the area to be good as well, thanks to the Seletar Aerospace Park, which will serve the aviation industries when completed by 2018.

Mr Wong noted that the aerospace park is expected to “drive job creation and boost demand for nearby properties”.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said: “There is also high potential for future capital appreciation… as the industrial park will serve as a key attraction to professionals and services to the area.”

Resale prices in the area rose 53 per cent from 2010 to the third quarter of this year, although new home launches dipped 4 per cent over the same period.

At the same time, a spate of new projects has enlivened the area, including The Greenwich, the 99-year leasehold residential component of a mixed development in Seletar Road.

The 319-apartment condominium has sold units at an average price of $1,210psf over the past six months, according to Squarefoot Research.

Units at the 99-leasehold Seletar Park Residence, which is just behind The Greenwich, have sold at an average price of $1,239 psf in the past six months. It is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Floravista and Floraview in Cactus Road was launched by developer Oxley YCK in January. The freehold units have been going for an average of $1,267 psf.

Mr Wong singled out Floraview as a “good deal” for investors, pointing to its lower selling price in comparison with the neighbouring Floraville condominium, which has average prices of $1,288 psf.

Mr Ismail noted that these projects are in a residential precinct “rich with Singaporean history”.

“The fact that these are near a wide array of amenities but still nestled in a serene and tranquil environment would be appealing for buyers who want a bit of quiet.”


Guide to help local firms, landlords negotiate tenancies

ONE of the country’s leading business groups is drafting a framework to help local firms negotiate fairer tenancy agreements as a way to offset the crippling rent rises many face when they renew leases.

The framework being drawn up by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) will spell out the general elements of a fair agreement, including a clear basis for rent reviews and more transparency of tenancy terms.

It is intended to be a voluntary guide but both commercial landlords and government agencies have been engaged to be “pioneering adapters” of it, said SBF chief operating officer Victor Tay yesterday.

The framework will also help tenants negotiate fairer gross turnover schemes.

These allow landlords to collect a percentage of a tenant’s gross turnover on top of a base rent and are used by many mall owners.

The SBF will also publish a database of commercial rents by the end of the year with the help of government agencies as a move to increase transparency.

Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have long complained about the toll taken on their businesses by ever-rising rents.

Mr Low Cheong Kee, the founder of local hardware chain Home-Fix, is often confronted with double-digit rent increases when he renews shop leases every three years or so.

He is not alone: Rising rents are a huge drag for many SMEs in the retail and food sectors. Rents can comprise 30 per cent of total costs among many retailers, said the SBF.

Mr Low said he backs the SBF initiative because “tenants are in a way being held hostage” to rent increases when their lease is up and they have already “committed to renovation, or taken two to three years of tenancy to build up a relationship with customers”.

But Mr Jimmy Fong, chief executive of Apple reseller chain Epicentre, feels the framework lacks bite as it will not be mandatory.

“Landlords are big boys. You take it or leave it. And if most contracts are going to be the same, how can you work out a deal?” he added.

Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, commended the SBF’s initiative when he spoke to more than 300 participants at the annual SME Convention at Suntec convention centre yesterday.

“We want to make sure that… tenants aren’t always being cornered and landlords aren’t always having the upper hand,” he said.

Mr Teo later told the media that “the SBF is also not over-protective of the tenants, so it’s fair on both sides”.