Changi could be 'CBD of the east'

20130806-st-changi-can-be-the-cbd-of-the-east-pic THE opening of an office block in Changi Business Park yesterday has underlined the area's potential to become the east's key enterprise zone.

That is the view of Ascendas Group president and chief executive Manohar Khiatani, who spoke at the official opening.

He said the business park's working population has grown from 6,000 to 24,000 people over five years.

Mr Khiatani added the new building - One@Changi City - will cater to financial services companies' back-end operations, high-technology businesses, as well as data and software firms.

The building also completes the $550 million mixed-use development called Changi City, which has been developed by Ascendas Land (Singapore) and Frasers Centrepoint within the business park.

"With the completion of Changi City, Changi Business Park is well-poised to be the CBD of the east in Singapore," added Mr Khiatani.

Mr Michael Tay, executive director of office services at property firm CBRE, concurred.

He told The Straits Times yesterday: "Changi Business Park is becoming a focal point because of the amenities and infrastructure that have come up over the past two to three years.

"The CBD is thought of as a central business location that comes with a host of amenities and a good transport network. Changi Business Park is slowly getting there."

One@Changi City is a nine-storey office block with a net lettable floor area of 650,000 sq ft and space for about 7,000 people.

It is more than 90 per cent occupied, with anchor tenants such as Credit Suisse and EMC Computer Systems (South Asia) already in.

Another anchor tenant, JPMorgan, is revamping its office and is expected to move in before the end of the year.

Other firms in Changi Business Park include DBS Bank, which has a nine-storey building called DBS Asia Hub, and multinational corporations such as Cisco.

Mr Ong Kah Seng, the director of property firm R'ST Research, said demand for business park space declined last year but is recovering.

He added that since such space is often owned by a single landlord, unlike strata factories, there is less speculation in that segment driving up prices.

The 4.7ha Changi City also has a retail mall and boutique hotel residence.

Its Changi City Point mall opened in April last year and has a net lettable area of 207,000 sq ft, while the 12-storey Capri by Fraser hotel opened in January.

More people will be visiting the mall now that the office block is open, said Frasers Centrepoint chief executive Lim Ee Seng yesterday.

"We are now receiving close to a million visitors each month at the mall.

"And with One@Changi City now open, we expect to see an increase in visitorship from the critical mass of workers from the offices," he added.

Source: Straits Times, 6 Aug 2013