Jurong Lake District: Examining the master-developer model

Next Tuesday, March 26, the tender for the sale of a 6.5-hectare (ha), white site in Jurong Lake District will close. The site was listed for sale under the Government Land Sales Programme using the master-developer method last June.

The proposed development, which will be completed in 10 to 15 year, will include 146,000 square meters (sq. m) of offices and up to 166,000 square meters of residential space. This could result in 1,700 units at completion. The development includes 73,000 sqm of space that can be used for retail, food and beverage and other uses.

JLD has been envisioned as Singapore’s largest business district, outside of the city center.

The master-developer model would allow the government to develop a second Central Business District faster, as the JLD is an integrated megadevelopment with a mix of uses.

Using this approach, a developer can plan and create a seamless and integrated development.

It is also in the master developer’s interest to ensure that the project will be successful, as it will be integrated, instead of having different developers competing for the same site, making it harder to develop a common theme or strategy.

The JLD White site that is up for bid consists of three adjacent parcels of land which will be developed in phases.

The successful bidder must build at least 70,000 square meters of office space and 51,000 square metres (about 600 homes) of residential units, as well as 2,700 square metres for complementary uses. The remaining supply can be phased according to the market demand.

State land is sold in most cases on a parcel-by-plot-basis.


The master-developer led projects in the past could be a good example for potential bidders.

The government has launched several large integrated projects for master developers to lead the design and development of them.

Suntec City, a 11.7-hectare site in Singapore, was established in 1988 with the aim of positioning Singapore as a global exhibition and convention centre.

Suntec City was completed in 2003 and consisted of five office towers and a retail, entertainment and convention centre. The total gross floor area (GFA), or the amount of space that is covered by a building, is 339,000 sq. m.

The master-developer method was also applied to the 3,55 ha Marina Bay Financial Centre site, which has a GFA total of 438,000 sq m. This site was developed in 2005 as an extension of the existing CBD.

The MBFC site, developed by a consortium consisting of Cheung Kong Asset Holdings (CKAH), Hongkong Land (HKL) and Keppel was purchased for S$1.91billion or S$405 psf per plot ratio.

CBRE data shows that this mega-development added 6 percent to the islandwide office stock and 43 percent to the grade A CBD core stock.

Tricia Song, CBRE’s director of research in Singapore and South-east Asia, stated that although MBFC had added a large amount of stock, this was not considered a “oversupply”, as the demand at the time was also increasing rapidly, particularly from the financial industry, which boomed between 2006-2008.

The MBFC project has added high-quality stock to the office sector, which is raising the prospects of the market. The office rents have more than doubled since the vacancy rate in CBD Grade A core buildings has dropped to less than 1 percent between Q3 2007 and Q2 2008

Most of the office space for Towers 1 & 2 was already pre-committed before they received their temporary occupation permits (TOP). Tower 3 was 70 percent occupied upon its temporary occupation permit (TOP) in 2012 and reached full occupancy by the next year.

C&W estimated that gross effective rents per square foot for the three towers would be about S$13 per month in Q4 2023. This is a 24 per cent increase from S$10.50 per sq.ft. per month in Q4 2015

Suntec City, MBFC and other mega-integrated projects played a key role in the transformation of Marina Centre and Marina Bay into thriving districts.

These projects provided the initial mass needed to start the transformation in these areas. The impact of these projects on rents and property values extends far beyond the immediate vicinity.”

The impact of JLD

Prof Sing emphasized that for the JLD site the option scheme in the land bid process is similar to that used in MBFC’s tender.

After Phase 1, the master developer can start the second phase within eight years.

The option scheme also gives developers land security. The option scheme helps developers to lower the upfront costs of land, but they must carefully manage the timing for the development via the options. Optional features will also limit future land prices.

Large projects can be more complicated and unpredictability in the construction process could cause delays, cost increases and impact the return on the project.

The successful bidder may have greater control over the pricing of this project, as there is unlikely to be another tender in the JLD region in the near future.

The finished development will contribute to more than 10% of the planned office supply at JLD.

Phase 1 of the project is expected to include 70,000 square meters of office space. This could be translated into approximately 640,000 square feet in office area that can be leased.

We are optimistic about the uptake of office space at JLD, given its planned development as the second CBD in Singapore. Also, we see the positive take-up for new suburban Grade A developments like Paya Lebar Quarter.

Given the size and risk of the JLD Project, the number of bids is likely to be low.

If any bidders are interested, we expect them to form joint ventures or consortiums and submit one to two offers. The highest bid could be S$1,000 per square foot per person to reflect the increased risks involved in this project.


This rate is significantly lower than the original rate of S$1,300 per square foot per year forecast by CBRE for June 2023.

Since then, the sentiment has declined, as a result of increasing headwinds in the macroeconomy.

If the JLD development is executed well, the property values could increase even more.

On its launch weekend, the J’den project with 368 units sold 88% at an average of S$2,451 per square foot. This is the best performance in a market that has been weak.

This shows confidence in the area, despite the fact that at least 1,700 new residential units could be built in JLD in the next fifteen years.

Another master-developer tender is in the pipeline for a Kampong Buis site in Kallang. The launch of the 8.29-ha plot, dubbed the “next waterfront living precinct”, has been delayed due to delays with the completion soil remediation work at the site.

The entire JLD will cover 410 ha and include the redesigned Chinese and Japanese Gardens and the new Science Centre. Between 2040 and 2030, it will create 100,000 jobs and 20,000 homes.

The JLD bids will be evaluated using the concept-and-price-revenue approach. This requires that tenderers submit separate concept proposals and tender price.

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