The opening of Jewel Changi Airport on April 17 drew crowds, both local and international, with some willing to wait three hours to experience Singapore’s latest attraction. A redevelopment of the former open-air carpark, the new 10-storey mixed-use development by Changi Airport Group has a four-storey “Forest Valley”, a 40m tall waterfall or “Rain Vortex”, as well as 280 shopping and dining facilities. There is also a play component at the Canopy Park with the Sky Nets attraction. Flexible accommodation options are available at YOTELAIR, as well as early check-in and baggage storage facilities.
Jewel epitomises what the Singapore government wants to achieve on a grander scale with the URA 2019 Master Plan – the creation of mixed-use districts with work-live-play components – across the island.
The four-storey “Forest Valley” and a 40m tall waterfall or “Rain Vortex” are the centrepiece of Jewel Changi (Credit: Jewel Changi Airport Group)
Changi Region, for instance, will be positioned as a “vibrant and thriving economic hub” for businesses that support and complement the services and facilities at Changi Airport. With the expansion of Terminal 1 completed, plans are underway for Terminal 5.
New areas such as Changi East Industrial Zone and Changi East Urban District have been earmarked to provide additional capacity for Changi Airport’s future growth.
Changi City and Changi Aviation Park
An area designated Changi City could become a future waterfront district. It will leverage the proximity of Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Changi Business Park (CBP) to create an “innovative ecosystem with a live-in community”. This is to attract businesses and institutions involved with freight transportation or aviation-related R&D, including artificial intelligence and robotics technology.
Near Changi City is the new Changi East Urban District, which is also situated near the future Terminal 5. It will have new offices, smart work centres, flexible conference rooms and halls, hotels and serviced apartments, set amid landscaped public spaces.
Meanwhile, Changi East Industrial Zone will cater to future expansion of the existing air cargo cluster as well as new aviation-related sectors and businesses that rely on air connectivity to the world. The entire area will be designated Changi Aviation Park.
Greater connectivity with Cross Island Rail
For greater connectivity to Changi Region, the government announced 12 new MRT stations in the first phase of the Cross Island Line (CRL) in January. Three of the 12 new MRT stations are in the East, namely Tampines North, Pasir Ris East and Loyang. Meanwhile, the existing Pasir Ris MRT Station will be upgraded to an interchange station for both the CRL and East-West Line.
The government is also studying the extension of the CRL and Thomson-East Coast Line to serve Changi Airport. New road corridors and other road improvements are also in the works.
Terminal 5 is also near the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and could facilitate seamless “fly-ferry” linkages in the future.
The unveiling of the Master Plan 2019 at the end of March, which includes the plan for Changi Region, and the opening of Jewel Changi Airport in mid-April, have benefitted a number of recently launched residential projects. These include the 2,203-unit Treasure at Tampines near Tampines Central by Sim Lian Group, which was launched in March; the 861-unit The Tapestry at by City Developments, launched 14 months ago; and the 428-unit The Jovell at Flora Drive, off Upper Changi Road North, which was launched last September.
The future plans for Changi Region “certainly enhance the selling proposition of properties in the East”, says Christine Sun, head of research for OrangeTee & Tie.
A bigger beneficiary could be the upcoming Parc Komo by CEL Development – the property development arm of listed construction group Chip Eng Seng Corp – given its proximity to the upcoming Loyang MRT Station on the CRL and Changi Airport, notes Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex.
Parc Komo is a redevelopment of the former Changi Garden, which Chip Eng Seng purchased en bloc for $248.8 million in October 2017. Located along Jalan Mariam, off Upper Changi Road North, Parc Komo is a freehold mixed-use development with 276 apartments and 28 shops.
“The opening of Jewel and the Master Plan for Changi Region, as well as the upcoming CRL, have created a buzz and positive interest in condos in the vicinity,” says Ismail. “It will certainly add value in terms of offering a wider range of lifestyle amenities as well as greater connectivity.”
Long- and short-term impact
These recently launched and soon-to-be-launched projects are likely to be completed in the next four to five years. This is because developers have to complete and sell their projects within a five-year time-frame from the time of land acquisition, in order to be eligible for the remission on the additional buyer’s stamp duty. However, like all Master Plans, the plan for Changi Region is long-term and may not have materialised by the time these projects are completed, notes Nicholas Mak, executive director at ZACD Group.
PropNex’s Ismail agrees, adding that the impact of the new Master Plan 2019 on sales and prices of new projects will not be immediate. “Project sales and prices will be driven by current supply and demand factors as well as the impact of the cooling measures on market sentiment,” he says.
Any positive impact of the Changi Region Master Plan will only be felt over the long term, says Ismail. With greater employment opportunities, the demographics of the area will change over time. “Those who are already considering moving to this area in the East will be assured by the future plans for the Changi Region,” he adds. “Investors are likely to be more confident of the possibility for future upside in terms of rents and capital values in the longer term.”
ZACD’s Mak points out that what is unique to Changi are Changi Airport and the Aerospace Park. “That will lead to greater job opportunities in the future.”
In the short term, it will be the amenities located within a 1km radius of the project that will have the greatest impact on its sales, says Mak, for instance, schools, shopping malls, supermarkets and public transport. He adds: “The East will be served by four MRT lines: East-West Line, Downtown Line, the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line and CRL. This will increase its accessibility for those who are currently not living in the East but are working there.”
However, Bruce Lye, managing partner of SRI, is confident that the new Changi Region Master Plan will ignite interest and sales for projects located nearby. “There will be increased demand for quality housing from both end-users who live-work-play in the vicinity of Changi Airport and investors who see it as a good value-proposition as more jobs are being created in the Changi Aviation Park and Changi City.”
Lye points to projects such as Vue 8 Residence and Stratum which benefitted from increased demand for rental apartments when the Overseas Family School moved to Pasir Ris in 2015. Likewise, Q Bay Residences also benefitted when the United World College South East Asia opened its East Campus in Tampines a decade ago. Demand for apartments came from both teachers and expatriate families with children attending the international schools, he adds.
“It clearly demonstrates the correlation between work opportunities and demand for housing in the vicinity,” says Lye. “However, for prospective expatriate tenants, quality of the project in terms of design concept and facilities is important for them and their families.”