A SHARP spike in commercial land was a striking feature of the Government's land sales programme released yesterday.
The Ministry of National Development said it will release land that could supply up to 159,000 sq m of commercial gross floor area (GFA) in the next half of the year - a huge hike over the 5,000 sq m from land on the confirmed list in the first half of the year.
The move was a sign that the Government was stepping up its plans to decentralise commercial hubs, analysts said.
Some mixed-use sites are likely to draw strong interest from developers, since the residential market has become challenging, said Mr Ong Teck Hui, national director of research and consultancy at Jones Lang LaSalle.
The bulk of new commercial space will come from a 3.98ha site in Paya Lebar Road, which can yield up to 132,000 sq m of GFA.
This site comprises a 2.07ha plot in Sims Avenue and another plot across the road. Both plots will be connected underground, and will give developers more flexibility for the new building's design, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
With its direct links to transport nodes at the Paya Lebar interchange and MRT station - where the East-West and Circle lines meet - the site is likely to gather keen interest from developers, said Ms Chia Siew Chuin, director of research and advisory at Colliers International.
But its location above a canal and sheer size would add complexity to construction and costs, so the site is likely to have bigger players throwing their hats in the ring, said Mr Nicholas Mak, research head at SLP International.
Developers are also expected to favour a prime 2.31ha site in Holland Road - in the heart of Holland Village and prime District 10. This will be the first site released by the Government in Holland Village since it announced plans to develop the bustling haunt into an identity node - a widely loved locality with distinctive character.
The site has been carved from a site of former Housing Board flats and a car park, and is slated for a mixed development as part of the Holland Village Extension Plan. It can yield 580 homes and a mid-sized mall with 13,500 sq m of GFA.
Plans to have the mixed-use project's developer build a basement car park were announced by the URA last year.
Other commercial sites in the city took the back seat on the reserve list. A 2.14ha site in Beach Road that can yield 89,880 sq m of GFA will offer an alternative office space on the outskirts of the Central Business District if triggered for sale - together with iconic developments like Duo and South Beach, said Mr Desmond Sim, research head at CBRE.
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