KEPPEL Land (KepLand) has started demolishing the 29-storey Ocean Building in downtown Singapore to replace it with a new office block - complete with state-of-the-art green features - by 2011.
The new 43-storey building in Collyer Quay will be called the Ocean Financial Centre and offer about 850,000 sq ft of Grade A space.
It will be aimed largely at financial institutions and will have one of the largest floor plates - 19,000 sq ft to 23,000 sq ft - in the Raffles Place area.
Ocean Building's heritage dates back to 1864, when the first block - a two-storey affair - was built. The second building was up by 1923, while the current one was completed in 1974.
The redevelopment plans are timely because office demand is still very robust, said Mr Tan Swee Yiow, director, Singapore Commercial, of KepLand International.
Mr Tan said some of Ocean Building's existing tenants have expressed interest in taking a lease in the new block.
Office space supply is expected to ease only in 2010, when the Marina Bay Financial Centre opens.
Once KepLand has redeveloped Ocean Building, it will integrate it with the podium block of the smaller Ocean Towers.
It will then tear down the office portion of Ocean Towers, as this space has been calculated into the allowed space for the new 43-storey block.
Existing tenants in Ocean Towers include DMG & Partners Securities and Drew and Napier.
The new block will be designed by American architectural firm Pelli Clarke Pelli. It will boast two significant local benchmarks: the largest solar panel system for commercial buildings in Singapore and the first hybrid chilled water system.