Singapore’s business and commercial engine room evolves to keep with the changing times
Mention Raffles Place and it brings to mind busy executives hurriedly going about the day’s business, devising growth strategies and closing deals. A cosmopolitan commercial district, Raffles Place buzzes with activity and the promise of new possibilities as the world’s talent gather to do business.
Known as Commercial Square in the early years, Raffles Place became the commercial heart of the city following an economic boom, attracting many trading companies, large departmental stores, and offices to be based there.
Today, Raffles Place continues to be a key business and commercial engine room that propels Singapore forward as a global financial services hub. It has certainly grown in stature and repute over the decades, as corporates pivot toward Asia to tap growth opportunities.
"The urban transformation that is happening in and around Raffles Place will ensure that the precinct remains relevant and competitive, keeping pace with developments in the Marina Bay commercial hub."
Tang Wei Leng, Managing Director at Colliers International in Singapore, said, “And just like Singapore - which continues to evolve alongside changes in the global economy - Raffles Place is undergoing urban renewal to remain competitive. This urban transformation puts additional gloss on a district that is already very appealing to developers, investors, and large occupiers alike.”
Urban Transformation in the CBD
Generally, there are two key thrusts to the urban transformation efforts that are taking place in Singapore’s central business district (CBD) - those that are developer/landlord-led, and the strategic initiatives by the government.
Many buildings in the CBD have undergone extensive asset enhancement works or have been redeveloped following their acquisition. Prominent buildings in Raffles Place that have been given a makeover recently include Chevron House and Republic Plaza. Meanwhile, the former Golden Shoe carpark is being redeveloped into a swanky mixed-use development, CapitaSpring.
These initiatives not only improve the quality of the buildings themselves, but also contribute positively to the enhancement of the overall built environment in the city, as well as supporting real estate values.
In addition, these newer and more sustainable buildings can also help to reduce running costs and support higher rents as occupiers increasingly favour business spaces with sustainable features that will help to attract talent.
On its part, the government, through initiatives by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), continues to play a key role in the rejuvenation of Singapore’s CBD. The URA recently announced new schemes – Strategic Development Incentive Scheme and the CBD Incentive Scheme - under its Draft Master Plan 2019 that are aimed at supporting the continued growth and evolution of the city.
Such initiatives encourage building owners to undertake redevelopment works to convert older properties to modern integrated developments, in line with the city planner’s vision to transform the CBD into a 24/7 mixed use precinct.
Raffles Place remains a top location
Taken together, these efforts will have a strong transformational impact on the city centre amid changing lifestyles, new ways of working, and the push for a more livable and sustainable environment.
“Times may have changed, but Raffles Place remains an epicentre of commerce, business, and finance - its reputation is solid. Even though the government has earmarked Jurong Lake District as Singapore’s second CBD, we are confident that Raffles Place will more than hold its own.”
The urban transformation that is happening in and around Raffles Place will ensure that the precinct remains relevant and competitive, keeping pace with developments in the Marina Bay commercial hub.
Ms. Tang added, “Times may have changed, but Raffles Place remains an epicentre of commerce, business, and finance - its reputation is solid. Even though the government has earmarked Jurong Lake District as Singapore’s second CBD, we are confident that Raffles Place will more than hold its own.”
With the positive outlook for the commercial property sector, Raffles Place has been a hunting ground of blue-chip investors for good investment bets. However, such opportunities – especially for redevelopment sites – are few and far between. With the exception of The Arcade, which was recently launched for collective sale via tender, there are no redevelopment land available in Raffles Place.
Investor interest for prime city centre assets will thus likely remain robust, as the weight of global capital gravitates towards Asia.
Contact Colliers today to find out about investment opportunities in Raffles Place.
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