Factories, offices and more - all under one roof

Imagine a factory space that has everything.

You have heavy-duty manufacturing taking place at the lower levels of the facility. As you go up, you find light-manufacturing spaces, offices and even foreign workers' dormitories.

In time to come, industrialists may be able to sharpen their competitive edge as more innovative multi-user spaces are developed here. And they may be spoilt for choice as a greater supply of industrial space keeps prices down.

"We expect about 2 million sq m of land to come on stream per year over the next three years," said Mr Png Cheong Boon, chief executive of industrial landlord JTC Corporation. "Historically, the demand for new industrial space is only about 1 million sq m (per year)."

Putting companies from the same industry together in one location would encourage them to collaborate and get rid of inefficiencies, explained Mr Png, whose organisation is behind the idea.

He added that such a facility, designed to accommodate heavy manufacturing industries such as oil and gas, will "raise the productivity of the industry while optimising the use of existing land".

For JTC, setting up integrated multi-user factories is just one of 16 innovative space projects that it plans to carry out. Seven of them are already under way.

At a media briefing yesterday, Mr Png revealed that JTC expects to add a total of 800,000 sq m in multi-user space by 2017.

These include a poultry processing hub, a furniture and timber hub, as well as a second lot of small-footprint factories.

To catalyse the development of new industries, JTC is looking at creating more space, such as by decking over major roads.

"Even if heavy-duty factories cannot be built on such infrastructure, it still helps to connect two locations, opening up a contiguous space that allows for a better work-live-and-play environment," noted Mr Png.

JTC is also exploring the option of taking back land plots whose 30-year leases are due to expire. These include the Tanjong Kling and Sungei Kadut areas.

"We will look into whether existing facilities can continue to operate there, or whether we should take back some of the land for redevelopment," he said.

The initiatives come at a time when industrial property prices have been slowing down.

According to figures from JTC, industrial property prices went down by 1.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to the quarter before that.

The anti-speculation measures introduced in January last year have had an impact on prices. The increased supply could do the same.

Currently, the private sector owns about 85.2 per cent of multi-user industrial space, while JTC owns about 3.5 per cent. The remainder is owned by the public sector.

Said Mr Png: "With such measures in place, and with the increased supply of multi-user industrial space coming into the market, we expect prices to moderate even further."

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