Lazada, the Southeast Asia online marketplace owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has slapped its name on its new Singapore home as it prepares to move into the building owned by ARA Asset Management and UK-based Chelsfield.
Earlier this year, Lazada, together with its parent firm, leased 140,000 square feet (13,006 square metres) to become the anchor tenant of the 11-storey building at 51 Bras Basah Road, which was known as 5One Central but which has now been renamed Lazada One in honour of its new tenant.
A 50:50 joint venture of ARA and Chelsfield Asia bought the former Manulife Centre for S$555.5 million ($408.8 million) at the beginning of 2019 with an eye towards upgrading the 241,000 square foot office block.
The latest name change was announced this week in a LinkedIn post by Magnus Ekbom, Lazada Group’s co-founder and chief strategy officer, who called Bras Basah one of his “favourite areas” of Singapore and said the company was looking forward to settling in.
Up From Paya Lebar
Lazada One will be the e-commerce firm’s fourth office in Singapore. In his post, Ekbom recounted Lazada’s travels up the city-state’s office food chain, starting with the Aztech Building, a warehouse-turned-office in Paya Lebar, followed by the Bestway Building in Tanjong Pagar.
Lazada’s most recent home, AXA Tower, is anchored by parent Alibaba, which bought a half-stake in the 50-storey building for S$1.68 billion from an investment consortium led by Singapore’s Perennial Real Estate Holdings in June 2020, marking one of the few major transactions in the city during the initial COVID-19 wave.
Alibaba and the Perennial-led consortium are redeveloping the Grade A office property in the heart of the city’s central business district into a new integrated complex with commercial, hotel and residential components.
At Lazada’s new Bras Basah digs, ARA and Chelsfield have launched several asset enhancement initiatives with the help of a S$385.8 million green loan obtained from DBS and UOB last November.
Upon completion of the improvements in the second half of this year, the building will have several green features, including CO2 sensors to regulate fresh air supply and occupancy sensors to optimise lighting usage. The owners anticipate receiving Green Mark Platinum certification for the property’s upgraded sustainability from Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority.
Singapore has emerged as a focal point for Chinese tech giants as e-commerce firms, game developers and others look to expand in Asia Pacific. Last year saw several announcements by big players setting up regional headquarters or expanding in the city-state.
Bloomberg reported last October that ByteDance, the owner of video-sharing app TikTok, had signed an agreement to lease three floors encompassing over 60,000 square feet at One Raffles Quay. A day later came news that WeChat owner Tencent would lease 10,000 square feet of co-working space at OCBC Centre East at Raffles Place for its first Singapore office.
An ARA representative told Mingtiandi that the asset manager has observed strong leasing demand from tech companies across its office portfolio in Singapore and expects such demand to remain firm.