Mapletree to redevelop Comtech at year-end

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Site will turn into new business park at a cost of $700m under second phase of Mapletree Business City

MAPLETREE Investments will begin work at the end of this year to redevelop The Comtech in Alexandra Terrace into a new business park project that will form the second phase of Mapletree Business City (MBC).

The total development cost for MBC II is estimated at $700 million, Tay Chin Khim, head (Singapore investments) at the company, told BT.

When completed in 2016, MBC II will have slightly more than one million sq ft net lettable area (NLA).

The new development will have flexible design features to cater to a variety of business operating needs. Currently, the design concept consists of three low-rise blocks (five, six and eight storeys high) of stepped terracing podium connected to a 30-storey tower.

Floor plates (or space per floor) in the development will range from around 25,000 sq ft to potentially 110,000 sq ft. The latter size will apply to a few of the lower levels, assuming space across all four blocks is amalgamated, Mr Tay said.

"The 30-storey tower will be one of the tallest business park buildings in Singapore and afford commanding views of the southern waterfront corridor and surrounding greenery," said Mr Tay.

As with the earlier phase, MBC II will boast "Grade A" type specifications including floor-to-ceiling height of 3.2 metres, and raised flooring of 150 mm to ease cable management. It will also target to achieve Building and Construction Authority's Greenmark Platinum certification.

"MBC II aims to attract MNCs keen on setting up their regional HQs in Singapore. It also presents a compelling alternative to office buildings for businesses looking for expansion and/or relocation space and who qualify for business park space," said Mr Tay.

Existing tenants at The Comtech have until year-end to vacate the premises.

Mapletree gave them 12 months' advance notice, invoking a clause in their tenancy agreements allowing early termination of leases in the event of the building's redevelopment. The 10-storey building houses IT companies as well as data centres and backroom operations for financial institutions. Key tenants include DBS, Credit Agricole and Deutsche Bank.

The Comtech and MBC together sit on nearly 1.2 million sq ft of land held under a single title. Its land tenure is 99 years starting Oct 1, 1997. The site formerly housed Alexandra Distripark, comprising four blocks.

In 2003, Mapletree upgraded Block 4 to The Comtech, and later tore down Blocks 1-3 and redeveloped that portion of the site into MBC, which was completed in April 2010. Today, 96-plus per cent of MBC's 1.7 million sq ft net lettable area is occupied.

Earlier, Mapletree secured a rezoning of the overall MBC and Comtech site from industrial to business park use, in exchange paying a differential premium when it developed MBC.

The maximum 15 per cent of gross floor area allowed for "white" use under Business Park zoning for the whole site has been fully tapped for MBC's development. This usage comprises an 18-storey office tower as well as some retail/food and beverage space.

MBC has three business park towers in addition to the office tower. Two of the business park towers, 20 East and 20 West, are 14 storeys high and connected at the top five levels, resulting in a connected floor plate of 65,000 sq ft. The other business park tower is the 17-storey Block 30.

The total development cost of MBC (including the differential premium) was $800 million.

Tenants in the business park space at MBC include HSBC, Credit Agricole, Nike, Unilever, Toshiba and Samsung Asia. The office tower tenants include IDA, Brightoil Petroleum, BW Maritime and Mapletree.

Source: Business Times, 16 May 2013