AN AMBITIOUS new development called Marina One is rising on a prime site granted to a Singapore-Malaysia joint-venture firm as part of a bilateral railway land swop.
The project - the groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday - will feature two 30-storey office towers and two 34-storey residential blocks with about 5 per cent of the space devoted to retail.
It will have a gross floor area of 341,000 sq m and eventually be linked to the Marina Bay and the upcoming Downtown Line MRT stations.
A brick has yet to be laid but the project's sustainable design features from German-based Ingenhoven Architects nabbed three prizes at the Asia Pacific Property Awards for best mixed-use development and architecture in April.
The development will include a 'green gem' at the heart of Singapore's new central business district, said Mr Azman Yahya, chairman of M+S, the joint venture between Temasek Holdings and Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional that is developing the site.
'Marina One will be an integrated development that marries commerce, premier residential living and exciting retail lifestyles in the Marina Bay district. It will define new standards of luxury urban living in Singapore.
'We are very happy with the progress of the project. The design is absolutely amazing and has already won awards before being fully unveiled.'
It also signals warming relations between Singapore and Malaysia.
The project came about from a breakthrough deal in 2010 when Malaysian railway land in Tanjong Pagar, Kranji, Bukit Timah and Woodlands was returned to Singapore, in exchange for four land parcels in Marina South - to be developed as Marina One - and two in Ophir-Rochor.
While it arose out of a government-to-government agreement, M+S is focused on the bottom line for the project, which has a gross development value of $7 billion.
Mr Azman, who is also a director of Khazanah Nasional, said yesterday: 'We've made it very clear that this is a commercial organisation with commercial objectives to bring value from the land that we have. It's a pretty simple objective.'
To be launched in October, the mega-project is expected to be finished in 2017. M+S, which is 40 per cent held by Temasek and 60 per cent by Khazanah Nasional, is confident it will draw quality tenants from the finance sector and multinationals.
The firm secured a $5 billion construction loan from eight banks for the project. Khazanah's UEM Land Holdings and Temasek's Mapletree Investments will oversee the marketing and development.
M+S is also developing the two Ophir-Rochor sites in the railway land swop. They have an estimated gross development value exceeding $4 billion and will be launched in September.