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IOI Central Boulevard Towers: Sole new CBD Grade-A office complex to be completed in 2024

Cecilia Chow
Cecilia Chow • 7 min read
IOI Central Boulevard Towers: Sole new CBD Grade-A office complex to be completed in 2024
IOI Central Boulevard Towers will have two office blocks of 16 and 48 storeys and a seven-storey retail podium when completed in 1Q2024 / Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua
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New office buildings usually get all the attention. It is IOI Central Boulevard Towers’ turn in the spotlight as the only new office development to be completed in the CBD this year, says Andrew Tangye, JLL head of office leasing advisory — Singapore. 

The new commercial complex at 2 Central Boulevard will obtain its Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in 1Q2024. Developed by Bursa Malaysia-listed IOI Properties Group, it will have two office blocks of 16 and 48 storeys and a seven-storey retail podium when completed. 

With 1.26 million sq ft of premium Grade-A office space and 30,000 sq ft of retail and F&B space, IOI Central Boulevard Towers will be the most significant new office development in the CBD since 2017 when Marina One integrated development, which includes 1.88 million sq ft of Grade-A office space, was completed. 

IOI Central Boulevard Towers is IOI Properties’ flagship investment property in Singapore. The Malaysian group beat six others to win the white site at Central Boulevard in a government land sale tender in November 2016 with the highest bid of $2.57 billion ($1,689 psf per plot ratio, or psf ppr). 

Doubling down

IOI Properties doubled down in the CBD and was the sole bidder for a white site at Marina View with a bid of $1.508 billion ($1,379 psf ppr) in September 2021. The developer plans to build a new mixed-use development on the site that will house the 530-room luxury hotel, W Singapore — Marina View and the 683-unit Marina View Residences. 

See also: Singapore’s home prices could remain ‘flattish’; rents may drop by 5% - 10% in 2024: Bloomberg Intelligence

To reinforce its position in Singapore’s CBD, IOI Properties’ group CEO and major shareholder, Lee Yeow Seng, purchased Shenton House for $538 million through a private entity, Shenton 101. The price works out to $1,885 psf ppr. 

The intention is to redevelop Shenton House into a mixed-use development with premier Grade-A office space and luxury branded serviced residences. Shenton House’s significance is its location in Singapore’s “first CBD”, adds Lee.

The en bloc purchase of Shenton House brings IOI Properties’ aggregate site purchases in Singapore’s CBD to $4.616 billion. “The purchase of Shenton House demonstrates my continued confidence in Singapore’s prime office and residential rental market,” says Lee. 

See also: Mandarin Oriental to sell interests in two retail units in Paris for EUR148 mil

Links and connectivity

With Shenton House, the connectivity between IOI Central Boulevard Towers and Marina View has been greatly enhanced, linking the developments to four MRT stations and five MRT lines. 

For instance, IOI Central Boulevard Towers has a direct underground link to the Downtown MRT Station on the Downtown Line. The underground link also connects it to the adjacent Marina Bay Link Mall, which, in turn, provides access to Raffles Place MRT Interchange Station (for the North-South and East-West Lines) and Marina Bay MRT Interchange Station (for the North-South and Circle Lines). 

A series of covered link bridges across buildings on the second floor will connect IOI Central Boulevard Towers to the neighbouring office towers, One Raffles Quay and Asia Square, and the future new development at Shenton House. The future redevelopment of Shenton House will have a covered bridge linking it to UIC Building, which is, in turn, connected underground to the Shenton Way MRT Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line. 

Blue-chip tenants

Blue-chip tenants such as Amazon and Morgan Stanley have already pre-leased 40% of the 1.26 million sq ft premium Grade-A office space at IOI Central Boulevard Towers. 

In July 2022, Amazon signed up for 369,000 sq ft space, while in June 2023, Morgan Stanley was said to be relocating from Capital Square and taking up between 90,000 and 100,000 sq ft across five floors in the new office blocks. 

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Ashley Swan, executive director of commercial leasing at Savills Singapore, considers Morgan Stanley’s move to IOI Central Boulevard Towers as the biggest office relocation of 2023.  

According to JLL’s Tangye, IOI Properties, the landlord of IOI Central Boulevard Towers, has signed up more tenants but has yet to announce them. 

In an exclusive interview with The Edge Singapore last October, IOI Properties’ Lee said another 20% of the office space at IOI Central Boulevard Towers is under advanced negotiations. He is confident that by the time the property receives its TOP sometime in 1Q2024, it can achieve more than 90% occupancy. 

Lee added that the asking monthly rental rates at IOI Central Boulevard Towers are between $14 and $15 psf, which are at a slight premium to the average Grade-A CBD rent of $11.27 psf per month at the end of 4Q2023, according to JLL Research. 

Tenants seeking to upgrade or consolidate

“New office buildings always attract tenants seeking to upgrade or consolidate,” says JLL’s Tangye. According to JLL, tenants who are active in the office market are predominantly from the following sectors: professional services, such as legal, accounting and business consulting; finance (non-banking), for instance, fintech, asset management, private wealth, private equity and insurance; as well as consumer goods, biomedical and advanced manufacturing.  

Several new office developments will be completed in 2024, including Keppel South Central in the fringe CBD, Labrador Tower, and Paya Lebar Green in the decentralised locations. These new office developments contribute to about 2.9 million sq ft of new supply, well above the 10-year average (2014 to 2023) of 1.23 million sq ft, says Tricia Song, CBRE head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia. However, IOI Central Boulevard Towers is the only new development in the CBD. 

Retail space 60% taken up 

IOI Properties says that 60% of the 30,000 sq ft retail space at IOI Central Boulevard Towers’ seven-storey podium has been taken up. Level 1 will feature various F&B and retail brands, from local fare to international cuisine. Level 2 is where the grand office lobby and main drop-off are situated. Complementing the space are three artisanal cafes, namely % Arabica, The 1872 Clipper Tea Co and Guerilla Coffee, which are ideal settings for meetings and discussions over coffee. 

Working parents who need childcare facilities will have ease of mind as preschool operator Superland Montessori Pre-School at Level 4 will provide childcare facilities and programmes catering to children from infanthood to early childhood. For the convenience of tenants, the building utilises an electronic car parking system and has facilities for 266 cars on Levels 3 and 4. 

Level 7 will have a 120,000 sq ft landscaped Skypark with a 160m jogging track, the equivalent of three Olympic-sized swimming pools. On the level are also lookout decks, meeting pods, a cafe and a signature restaurant. Called Sospiri, the restaurant is a new concept by ilLido Group.

Wellness, sustainability

IOI Central Boulevard Towers is designed by renowned American architectural firm CallisonRTKL in collaboration with Singapore-based Architects 61, the local architectural firm that was behind the designs of other prominent office buildings in the CBD, One Raffles Quay and Asia Square.

Besides having a Green Mark Platinum rating for sustainable design, IOI Central Boulevard Towers emphasises sustainable transport. The development is seamlessly connected to the Downtown MRT Station and to the central area cycling network through dedicated cycling paths. The building has 327 bicycle parking spaces and comprehensive end-of-trip facilities with showers, lockers and a family room. 

Designed with optimal leaf coverage, biophilia and wellness in mind, IOI Central Boulevard Towers has 63,504 sq m (683,557 sq ft) of greenery, equivalent to nine football fields. Urban heat island effects have also been minimised. Green and blue spaces are utilised to enhance biodiversity, reduce cooling loads and promote ventilation. The building has achieved a high green plot ratio of 5.04, which exceeds the Green Mark recommendations for air quality, community interaction and a sense of well-being. 

“IOI Central Boulevard Towers stands tall as a spectacular new architectural masterpiece in Singapore’s CBD,” IOI Properties’ Lee said in his speech at the topping-out ceremony in August 2023. “This is underpinned by an integrated, connected and sustainable workplace ecosystem harnessing the leading-edge technologies.” 

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