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Commercial hub shaping up in Jurong Gateway

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Jurong Gateway, the area around Jurong East MRT station, is well on the way to becoming a major commercial hub in the western part of Singapore.

Upcoming launches of more shopping malls, a hospital, a hotel and office space will add buzz to the district, which used to be hilly jungle land dotted with prawn ponds and crocodile-infested rivers.

But analysts note that the area has few private residential projects, with most condominiums being nearer to the Lakeside district, west of Jurong Gateway. The only private condo homes are the 280-unit Westmere, an executive condominium launched in 1996, and Ivory Heights, a former HUDC project.

But a new condo is on the cards. A residential site at Boon Lay Way, launched last April, attracted 12 bids, with the top bid at $705 per sq ft. Analysts said this reflected positive sentiment from developers. The site is estimated to yield 590 homes.

Based on the Government's Master Plan 2008, the 70ha Jurong Gateway is expected to provide 500,000 sq m of office space, 250,000 sq m of retail, F&B and entertainment space and about 2,800 hotel rooms.

But office space is limited, analysts said. The main office buildings in the area are JTC Summit and the CPF Jurong Building.

There is about 1.1 million sq ft of office space, said CBRE Research associate director Desmond Sim.

But this will grow because a 1.1ha site with a potential gross floor area of nearly 700,000 sq ft along Venture Avenue to be developed predominantly for office use is listed on the Government Land Sales confirmed list.

Business parks, retail malls and institutional facilities form most of the existing developments in Jurong Gateway.

Business parks completed in the past five years include 1A International Business Park, Icon@IBP and 29A International Business Park.

Among retail malls, Jurong Entertainment Centre was recently refurbished and renamed JCube. It features an Olympic-size ice skating rink, and is the latest commercial development in the area. The IMM mall is also undergoing a $30 million revamp to become an outlet centre, set for completion in the middle of this year.

New malls being built include Jem by Lend Lease, Westgate by CapitaLand and the Big Box Retail development by TT International.

Jem and Westgate will offer new office supply. Jurong Gateway will also get a new hospital and hotel. The 700-bed Ng Teng Fong General Hospital is slated for completion next year. Also, the first hotel site in Jurong was awarded last November to Tamerton, a unit of Genting Singapore. This site has a potential gross floor area of about 204,500 sq ft.

Analysts are positive on the outlook for the area, though they warn that congestion could become a problem.

Credit from The Straits Times - 12 January 2013
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