PHARMACEUTICAL giant Abbott will be moving its offices to the Duo integrated development in Bugis, The Straits Times understands.
Industry sources said a lease is being drawn up for Abbott to occupy three floors in the project's office block, named Duo Tower.
The American firm will also be an anchor tenant - and the largest in the building so far - taking 100,000 sq ft.
In what is likely to be this year's largest leasing deal so far, Abbott is said to be planning to move its offices from HarbourFront Centre in Telok Blangah, Gateway West in Beach Road and Visioncrest Commercial in Penang Road to the Duo building, after its completion in 2017.
Abbott also has premises at the Biopolis in one-north.
It is understood that property firm JLL brokered the deal, but it declined to comment when contacted.
Abbott, too, declined to comment, saying: "We do not comment on market rumours."
The firm's impending move follows a spate of relocations into the Bugis office sub-market.
Multinational firms such as Facebook, Sanofi, Rabobank, TMF Group, Bain and Company and De Lage Landen were earlier reported to be moving to the nearby South Beach Tower, the office component of City Developments' South Beach mixed-use project.
Rents secured there ranged from $9 to $12 per sq ft (psf), said South Beach Consortium, the group developing the project in Beach Road.
Duo, located between Ophir Road and Rochor Road, has a gross floor area of 1.73 million sq ft and a net lettable area (NLA) of 570,000 sq ft.
Its 39-storey commercial tower will have a retail component, named Duo Galleria, as well as office floor plates spanning 28,000 sq ft - the largest in the Bugis office segment so far.
M+S had also in January stitched a deal with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts to develop a 340-room, five-star Andaz hotel - a boutique brand under the Hyatt group - within Duo.
The development will comprise a 49-storey residential block with 660 units, ranging from studios and one- to four-bedroom apartments, to penthouses.
Colliers International said in a report that a "lack of significant new office completions" this year could shore up occupancies. "Nonetheless, rents may still be reined in due to pre-leasing activities from sizeable projects, (which are) expected to be completed in 2016," said the firm.
This includes developments such as M+S' other integrated development, Marina One in Marina Bay, with an NLA of about 1.9 million sq ft, and GuocoLand's GuocoTower in Peck Seah Street, with an NLA of about 890,000 sq ft.
Monthly rents of Grade A offices in the Central Business District (CBD) were $11.40 per sq ft in the first quarter, data from CBRE showed, up 1.8 per cent from the preceding quarter.
Though South Beach and Duo are in the fringe areas of the CBD, Dr Lee Nai Jia, associate director of research at DTZ, said the Bugis area is becoming popular with international firms because of its accessibility and buildings with large office floor plates.
"Bugis serves as an interchange for East-West and Downtown MRT lines," said Dr Lee. "It is extremely accessible by car as the area is serviced by many expressways. With South Beach and Duo coming up there, it will further energise the area."
Source: Straits Times, 11 Apr 2015