As a complement to the Singapore government’s vision to create a “world-class learning ecosystem in the research and knowledge hub,” Singapore’s CapitaLand unveiled its latest addition to the One North technology park on 9 September, the 400,000-square foot (37,100 square metre) integrated development, Rochester Commons.
Slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2021 at a total cost of S$550 million ($402 million) the project occupies a 2.4 hectare (258,000 square feet) site within infrastructure developer JTC Corporation’s One North research and business park. Ascendas-Singbridge, which later merged with Capitaland, had acquired the site for Rochester Commons through a tender in February 2018.
Rochester Commons will be Singapore’s first campus-style integrated project, and will include a 17-storey office tower, a shared executive learning centre, and a business hotel managed by CapitaLand’s hospitality arm, The Ascott Limited.
Fusing Work with Study
Among the key features in the project in Singapore’s 200 hectare One North commercial hub is a 54,000-square foot purpose-built executive learning centre branded as Catapult, which Rochester Commons plans to share with the community.
Built around technologies including virtual and augmented reality some of which are already on trial at Catapult’s showroom at CapitaLand’s nearby Bridge+ coworking space in Singapore Science Park 1, the system incorporates a 180-degree immersive screen to facilitate shared virtual reality viewing for workshops and expanded virtual conferences.
“As companies and individuals adapt to the post COVID-19 environment, executive education and reskilling will be increasingly important,” said CapitaLand Singapore CEO Tan Yew Chin in a statement. “Rochester Commons will further complement CapitaLand’s real estate ecosystem and increase our competitive advantage.”
Expanding a Tech Hub
When complete the Gensler-designed Rochester Commons will feature 200,000 square feet of Grade A desk area, including both traditional layouts and flex office space with seven of 12 restored heritage bungalows which originally occupied the site now repurposed for office use.
CapitaLand declined to indicate any pre-leasing transactions or tenants for the office tower or food and beverage spaces, but Desmond Sim, head of research, Southeast Asia at CBRE argued that future office tenants in the One North project would be in line with the park’s current occupiers.
“It has captured occupiers associated with R&D, technology as well as media. Rochester Commons, [was] well conceived to further welcome occupiers from such industries to blend synergistically with the established players in this precinct,” Sim said.
Given its positioning as a corporate campus, Rick Thomas, head of occupier services at Colliers in Singapore sees Rochester Commons as fitting with the trend toward large corporations choosing Singapore for their corporate headquarters.
“[CapitaLand] would be seeking a marquee tenant to anchor the development,” Thomas noted. Among the current tenants at One North are internet platform Sea, creative services Infinite Studios, e-commerce platform Shopee and Fox Studios.
When completed, Rochester Commons will boost CapitaLand’s presence in the JTC development in Queenstown, where it will sit alongside its Galaxis commercial project and the showcase Ascent business park facility in the Singapore Science Park 1 section of One North.
CapitaLand also holds Singapore Science Park 2 and with its proximity to National University of Singapore and government support, One North has become a hub for growth sectors such as biomedical sciences, infocomm technology and media.
CapitaLand sees the new facility as an opportunity to cater to the evolving workplace needs of corporate occupiers by designing the office component of its latest project to accommodate flexible desk arrangements.
“Rochester Commons further strengthens and diversifies the Group’s offerings to support the hub-and-spoke and core-and-flex workspace needs of companies in the COVID-19 new normal,” said CapitaLand Singapore CEO Tan Yew Chin.
Adding Beds and Tables Alongside Desks
In addition to the office space component, the new project will include Citadines Connect Rochester Singapore, a 135 room hotel which spans 60,000 square feet, with a further 22,000 square feet, including the remaining five bungalows, to be dedicated to food and beverage outlets as well as other retail.
The new Citadines property will complement Ascott Group’s existing Citadines Fusionopolis Singapore and forthcoming lyf One North Singapore co-living centre in the vicinity.
To foster the campus environment, Rochester Commons will also feature a 1,200-foot green trail, outdoor social spaces which are planned to accommodate curated events, and the whole complex has already received the Singapore Building and Construction Authority’s standards Green Mark Platinum award for sustainability.