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Jurong Lake area to be new draw for developers

Leisure elements, potential high-speed rail terminus to boost area's value

[SINGAPORE] Developers are expected to take a keener interest in future state land tenders in Jurong Lake District - whether for residential, commercial or hotel projects.

The buzz created from efforts for greenery attractions in the area is expected to give a fillip to home values there.

Attention will be heightened further if a decision is made to house the future Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail terminus in Jurong Gateway, said property consultants yesterday. They were giving their views on plans announced on Sunday night by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to liven up Jurong Lake District.

"Going forward, the plans to realign Ayer Rajah Expressway, convert some of the old industrial estates to waterfront housing, etc, could greatly enhance the liveability of Jurong as it enjoys an image overhaul, thanks to all the leisure elements that the government will put in place," said Christine Li, research head at OrangeTee.

"Existing property owners can look forward to one of the most liveable housing estates in Singapore outside the central and fringe areas," she added.

CBRE' Singapore research head Desmond Sim too thought the changes will "remove the stigma of an industrial township that Jurong was originally planned for".

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan blogged yesterday: "Since 2008, Jurong has made steady progress to be our largest regional centre, outside of the city."

Jurong Lake Gardens, spanning over 70 hectares, will integrate the revitalised Jurong Lake Park (to be completed by 2017), as well as the Chinese and Japanese Gardens which are set to be spruced up, and not forgetting the new Science Centre, which will emerge next to the Chinese Garden MRT Station around 2020.

Giving her take on the announcements on residential property values, DTZ's regional head (SEA) research, Lee Lay Keng, said: "Even though the overall conditions in the residential property market remain tepid, the buzz created could provide a minor boost to existing projects and help support prices and transaction volumes in the area."

"In the longer term, the development of Jurong Lake Gardens will enhance the living environment for residents, similar to the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, and increase interest in the area," she added.

The plans are expected to fuel developers' interest in a 99-year private housing site just above Jurong Lake - between The Lakeshore and Lakeville condos - that will be launched in December through the confirmed list of the Government Land Sales Programme. Said CBRE's Mr Sim: "While the number of bids is expected to be prices are expected to be dampened by current market sentiment and confidence."

Ms Li of OrangeTee expects development sites for residential, commercial as well as integrated uses (eg office, retail and residential elements) to whet developers' appetite - if they are released over the next year or two. "Hotel sites are also likely to be released once the terminus of the high-speed rail is confirmed," she added.

Mr Sim added that should the terminus be located in Jurong Gateway, it could further boost the currently nascent office market in the area, he added. "The inclusion of the high-speed rail terminus will be the final jigsaw piece to cement Jurong Regional Centre as a unique lakeside destination for business and leisure."

JLL's head of research, SE Asia, Chua Yang Liang, said the realignment of the AYE will generate the opportunity to develop "more lakefront homes for the masses". "Beyond the current slowdown in the residential market, the opportunity would be much sought after by developers in future...We can expect the regenerative efforts by the state to be capitalised into higher real estate values in the long term."