Jurong East mall JCube set to make way for mixed-use residential development

If approved, CapitaLand Development may build a property with more floor space than JCube at a plot ratio of 4.2, up from the current 3.0. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE – CapitaLand-owned mall JCube looks set to make way for a mixed-use residential development, based on a proposed amendment to the site’s land use.

The proposed amendment to the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) masterplan, published by the agency on July 22, stated that JCube’s 7,771.2 sq m plot may be changed from commercial use to a primarily residential development that has commercial spaces on the first storey.

If approved, CapitaLand Development (CLD) – which acquired the mall from CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust in the first quarter of 2022 – may build a property with more floor space than JCube at a plot ratio of 4.2, up from the current 3.0.

A CLD spokesman told The Straits Times on Thursday (July 28) that it is “exploring options to reposition or redevelop the mall in line with the gradual transformation of Jurong Lake District”.

“No plan has been firmed up and it is business as usual at JCube,” said the spokesman, who did not give further details.

URA’s publication of the proposed masterplan amendment indicates that CLD has received in-principle approval from the authorities to redevelop the mall.

Located about 200m from Jurong East MRT station and opened in 2012, JCube is one of several suburban malls in the area. CapitaLand also owns Westgate and outlet mall IMM, while Lendlease owns Jem.

Observers cited stiff competition from nearby shopping malls and expected strong demand for residential homes at the JCube site as likely reasons for CLD’s move.

Associate professor of marketing education at Singapore Management University Seshan Ramaswami said the proposed move to “convert a mall into a residential building, with just one commercial level reflects the reality of an over-malled city, especially amid a booming e-commerce dominated retail environment”.

He noted that surburban residents have an abundance of options from new malls as well as e-commerce. Some consolidation of malls is thus to be expected, he added.

National University of Singapore professor of finance, economics and real estate Sumit Agarwal said IMM, Jem and Westgate are likely to be cannibalising JCube’s business.

With home prices rising, it makes sense for CapitaLand to ride the property wave, Prof Agarwal added. It is possible that property prices in Jurong East will hit $2,000 per sq foot (psf) by the time the development is completed, he said, given that private properties now fetch between $1,500 and $1,800 psf in nearby Clementi.

OrangeTee and Tie chief executive Steven Tan said the JCube site offers excellent connectivity and that future residents of the proposed residential property will be within 10 minutes of office and leisure spaces.

Noting that the last condominium launch in Jurong East was in 2013, and that 7,955 Housing Board flats in Jurong East and Jurong West have reached their minimum occupation period between 2017 and 2022 – with another 970 to come over the next two years – Mr Tan said there is a large catchment of potential buyers who will add to demand for new projects in the area.

The potential redevelopment of JCube has also cast doubt on the future of ice sports athletes here. The mall houses Singapore’s sole Olympic-size ice skating rink, with the only other skating rink located in Leisure Park Kallang.

A SportSG spokesman said the rink’s lease will end in March 2023, and “SportSG is exploring various options for the ice sports associations’ athletes’ training”.

When contacted, the Singapore Ice Hockey Association and the Singapore Ice Skating Association said they will work with SportSG to ensure their athletes’ training needs are met.

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