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MND, 2 stat boards moving to Jurong Gateway by 2015

 
04 March 11 | The Business Times
by Emilyn Yap
 

THE Ministry of National Development (MND) and two of its statutory boards will be moving to a brand new mixed-use development at Jurong Gateway by 2015.

Future plans for MND Complex at Maxwell Road, where these agencies are now headquartered, will be decided later.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan mentioned the relocation in Parliament yesterday, as he talked about the remaking of Singapore.

MND, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority and the Building and Construction Authority will become the anchor tenant at a development by Lend Lease 'to catalyse the growth of Jurong Lake District', he said.

Australia's Lend Lease won the tender for the 99-year leasehold white site at Jurong Gateway last year. The site is in the Jurong Lake District, which the government has earmarked as a new regional hub.

MND has signed a 30-year lease to take up 29,300 sq m of office space. This makes up around 27 per cent of the development's maximum gross floor area of 107,098 sq m.

According to the ministry, this is the first time a government agency is committing to a long-term lease with a private developer at its development project.

Knight Frank represented MND in the deal; Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) is the sole leasing agent for the Lend Lease project.

Government agencies began shifting out of the city centre some years ago before the financial crisis, when a strong economy and a shortage of prime office space downtown caused rents to spike. Singapore Land Authority was one which moved to Newton from Raffles Place.

MND had the options of building a new government complex at Jurong or renting space there.

'We have found it financially viable leasing our office space from the private developer instead of building our own premises,' said the ministry's Permanent Secretary Tan Tee How.

MND pointed out that the relocation will free up prime office space in the Central Business District for higher-value uses and reduce occupancy costs for the government.

JLL head of markets Chris Archibold noted that monthly office rents at new buildings in Tanjong Pagar are now around 'mid-$8' per sq ft.

Lend Lease's development at Jurong Gateway is scheduled for completion in 2014. It will offer office and retail space, and adopt green features such as roof gardens.

The fate of the state-owned MND Complex after the relocation remains unclear for now. MND told BT that it will decide on development plans for the building 'closer to the actual relocation, taking into consideration the prevailing market conditions at that point'.

Yesterday in Parliament, Mr Mah also fielded queries about Concept Plan 2011. One key question the plan seeks to answer is how Singapore can support a growing population while preserving a good quality of life, he said.

Significant fiscal resources will be needed to achieve this, he said. For instance, the government will invest to create new towns, and build more housing units particularly in the central and west areas so that homes can be closer to workplaces.