Thursday, September 11, 2008

Big Demand For Marina Bay Towers

Source : The Straits Times, Sep 11, 2008

THE Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) is filling up fast even though it is about two years from completion, as tenants look for prime space amid the supply crunch.

Three foreign companies have just signed up for extensive office leases in Tower Two of the MBFC, helping to lift its occupancy level to two-thirds.

Tower One is already fully let.

Singapore's fast-rising office rents look to be peaking, but the shortage is expected to largely remain until the second quarter of 2010, when the first two of the three MBFC towers are due for completion.

The latest tenants to sign up include two leading Australian companies.

BHP Billiton, the world's largest diversified resources firm, will lease 142,000 sq ft on levels 44 to 50. Financial services firm Macquarie Group will lease more than 74,000 sq ft on levels 16 to 18. Both leases are for 10 years with options for renewal and expansion.

The third tenant is French software company, Murex South-east Asia, which has been hit by the office shortage.

It will move from its 12,000 sq ft office at Prudential Tower to its new 25,000 sq ft space on level 19 of MBFC's Tower Two in 2010. 'If we had found another 12,000 sq ft in Prudential Tower or nearby, we would not have to move,' said the firm's chief executive, Mr Guy Otayek.

As the firm is looking for prime space with large floor plates, MBFC is its only choice, he added. It has signed a six-year tenancy agreement. 'The climate is not so positive now, but we are expanding for the long term,' he added.

Overall, given the United States sub-prime crisis, financial institutions are postponing big pre-commitments, said a market watcher.

'There is of course some caution among occupiers, but across the majority of our client base, we sense that there is underlying confidence in Singapore's relative position,' said Mr Moray Armstrong, executive director of CB Richard Ellis, MBFC's marketing agent.

He added that the MBFC pre-leases were a good indicator that demand for quality space remained in positive territory, even though overall momentum had eased.

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