GERMANY'S Daimler group, which owns the Mercedes-Benz brand, is moving from glitzy Centennial Tower in Marina Centre to Westgate Tower next to Jurong East MRT Station.
The move underscores the importance of saving in occupation cost for corporates, say market watchers. Daimler is expected to pay about S$6 psf in monthly rent at Westgate Tower, which would be about 30 per cent lower than what it could have expected to pay had it renewed its lease at Centennial Tower, which is said to expire in the first quarter of next year.
Daimler is taking about 55,000 sq ft on almost three and a half storeys at Westgate Tower. More than 90 per cent of its 305,000 sq ft net lettable area has been leased.
The Daimler lease was brokered by CBRE, which also handled Great Eastern Life's leasing deal in the same building. The insurer is taking two storeys in the high-rise zone amounting to nearly 33,000 sq ft.
These new signings at Westgate Tower were disclosed by CBRE in a news release on Wednesday although details of the amount of space leased and rental levels were not disclosed.
CPG Corporation has leased 83,000 sq ft at Westgate Tower. It will move out of Novena Square, where it occupies about 80,000 sq ft.
Another major tenant in the building is Beca, a mechanical engineering services firm, which has leased 26,000 sq ft. It will move out of the Anson Road location. "Cost cutting is the overriding driver determining real estate choices of occupiers in the current business climate," said Marcus Loo, executive director (commercial) at Savills.
Commenting on the locational appeal of Westgate Tower, CBRE executive director (office services) Michael Tay said: "Coming on the heels of the latest announcement of Jurong East as the terminus for the high speed rail link between Singapore and Malaysia, Westgate Tower's premium as a strategic commercial development in the Jurong Regional Centre is now raised."
Jurong East is the interchange of major MRT lines - the existing East-West and North-South lines as well as the upcoming Jurong Region Line - making it convenient for commuters.
Westgate Tower, a Green Mark Platinum building with Grade A office specifications, received Temporary Occupation Permit last October. It is owned by a joint venture between Sun Venture and Low Keng Huat. Offices span levels six to 25 of the 27-storey building. The office lobby is on level two. Office floor plates at Westgate Tower are about 8,700 sq ft-8,800 sq ft (on levels six to eight) and 15,855-16,700 sq ft on levels nine to 25.
The office tower is part of the mixed development Westgate project developed by CapitaLand, CapitaMalls Asia and CapitaMall Trust.
"MNCs are starting to see the attraction of decentralised locations," noted CBRE's Mr Tay. He cites The Metropolis, next to the Buona Vista Circle Line Station, which has attracted the likes of Procter & Gamble, Shell and GE.
Analysts are also keenly watching Google, which is close to inking a lease at Mapletree Business City II (MBC II), a business park development in the Pasir Panjang Road/Alexandra Terrace area. The tech heavyweight is expected to exit Asia Square Tower 1 in the CBD.
Industry players guess that the group is likely to lease two entire low-rise blocks as well as the lower levels of the adjoining high-rise tower at MBC II, giving it an expansive floor plate spanning three blocks, and plenty of roof space. The campus-like setting of MBC II is said to have been the major draw for Google.
Source: Business Times, 7 May 2015