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PM Lee, Najib open Marina One and Duo integrated developments

SINGAPORE — Marina One, the largest integrated development in the Marina Bay financial district, officially opened its doors on Monday (Jan 15), with more than 70 per cent of its office space for lease taken up.

(From left) Group photo of Mdm Rosmah Mansor, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mrs Lee, and Mr Azman Yahya, Chairman of Board of Directors, M+S at the official opening of Marina One and DUO Developments on Jan 15, 2018. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

(From left) Group photo of Mdm Rosmah Mansor, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mrs Lee, and Mr Azman Yahya, Chairman of Board of Directors, M+S at the official opening of Marina One and DUO Developments on Jan 15, 2018. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

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SINGAPORE — Marina One, the largest integrated development in the Marina Bay financial district, officially opened its doors on Monday (Jan 15), with more than 70 per cent of its office space for lease taken up.

Spanning offices, residential units and community spaces, the latest addition to the Singapore skyline houses tenants such as Facebook, Julius Baer, Grab and Prudential.

The S$7 billion project took about 4.5 years to complete. The 3.7 million sq ft mixed-use development has about 1.9 million sq ft of net lettable office space, and its office towers are connected on the 28th and 29th storeys via steel trusses which act as bridges. This forms an adjoining office space, measuring about 100,000 sq ft on each floor — the largest prime Grade A office floor plates in Asia.

Marina One was one of two projects by M+S — a joint venture between Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings and Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional — which were officially opened on Monday. The other project was Duo, a S$4 billion integrated development in the Ophir-Rochor district.

The opening ceremony held at Marina One was attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak, who is in town for the eighth Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat.

At a press briefing earlier, M+S board chairman Azman Yahya said that Facebook and Julius Baer had taken up the 28th and 29th floors, although he declined to be drawn into the specifics. On the office space take-up, M+S chief executive Kemmy Tan said she expects full occupancy “in time” to come.

Speaking to TODAY, Mr Alan Cheong, head of research at Savills Singapore, said Marina One’s occupancy rate at its opening was above market expectations, given that economic conditions are still tentative.

He noted that the development was built for the new economy, attracting firms in the technology arena, for instance. In contrast, many existing office buildings in Raffles Place were built in the pre-Internet age.

Pointing out that Marina Bay is the Republic’s new financial hub, HSR chief executive Jeffrey Hong believes Marina One can reach over 90 per cent occupancy by the third quarter of this year.

However, Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of International Property Advisor, said that Marina One’s office occupancy rate was lower than some other buildings in the Central Business District (CBD) when they opened in recent years. CapitaGreen on Market Street, for instance, reported a committed occupancy of 83 per cent at its official opening in 2015, Mr Ku said.

He noted that as productivity rises in certain sectors, fewer workers are needed to generate output. This, in turn, may not bode well for demand for office space, he said. “Companies don’t require as much space to generate the same dollar of output,” he said.

With a distinctive facade, Marina One houses a biodiversity garden which is the size of five Olympic-sized swimming pools — the largest such garden in the CBD.

Dubbed the Green Heart, it features more than 160,000 plants across nearly 390 species amid cascading waterfalls.

Apart from office space, Marina One comprises two residential towers, totalling 1,042 units. More than 80 per cent of the 521 units in the first tower have been sold, and the units will be handed over to buyers in the first quarter of the year, said Ms Tan. The remaining units will be launched this year.

The sprawling development also has a retail space spanning 140,000 sq ft, over 80 per cent of which has been taken up, Ms Tan said. Composed primarily of food-and-beverage establishments, the space’s anchor tenants include the Virgin Active fitness club and Cold Storage supermarket.

The Duo integrated development, which is near the historic Kampong Glam district, similarly spans office and residential units, among other things.

Tenants include pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories and global payment firm Mastercard. Andaz, a boutique-inspired hotel by Hyatt Hotels & Resort, occupies the 25th to 39th storeys of the Duo Tower, with a rooftop infinity pool.

More than 70 per cent of its office space has been taken up, while fewer than 20 of its 660 residential units remain up for grabs, said Ms Tan.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Najib called on President Halimah Yacob at the Istana. Later in the evening, Mr Lee and his wife Ho Ching were to host Mr Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor to a private dinner.

On Tuesday, the two leaders will meet for bilateral discussions and witness the signing of a bilateral agreement for the Rapid Transit System (RTS) linking Johor and Singapore.

Announced in 2010, the rail link will connect Woodlands in Singapore and Bukit Chagar in Johor via a high bridge across the Straits of Johor. Construction is set to begin next year, with passenger service due to start by the end of 2024.

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