JCube Might Be Redeveloped into a Mixed-Use Residential Development

For years, we’ve known the holy trinity of shopping malls at Jurong East MRT Station as JCube, Jem, and Westgate.

Image: CapitaLand, Wikipedia.com

If we got bored of one, we’d simply make our way to the other and circle around for hours until it’s time to go back home.

Well, it may be time to say a partial goodbye to one-third of the iconic mall trio as JCube could be redeveloped into a mixed-use residential development in the coming years.

A Proposed Amendment Plan Has Been Submitted

CapitaLand Development (CLD), the current owner of JCube, has proposed a site-use amendment to the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA), a statutory board under the Ministry of National Development of the Government of Singapore.

In a masterplan published by the governmental agency on 22 July, it stated that JCube’s plot of land spanning 7,771.2 square metres might be changed from its current commercial use to a primarily residential development. Some commercial spaces may also be included in the first storey.

If this goes through, CLD may build a property with more floor space than the current JCube, at a plot ratio of 4.2, up from 3.0.

According to The Straits Times who spoke with a representative from CLD on Thursday (28 July), the organisation is “exploring options to reposition or redevelop the mall in line with the gradual transformation of Jurong Lake District”.

He refers to the ongoing masterplan to transform the Jurong Lake District into the largest mixed-use business district outside the city centre, with aims to build accessibility to the rest of the island by having 4 MRT Lines serving the district from 2035.

That being said, the spokesperson has said that no plan has firmed up regarding JCube’s transformation yet.

As of now, the mall remains operational and business as usual.

What’s at Stake if JCube is Redeveloped?

Well for one, many existing tenants will have to find new rental spaces or close down. With the economy opening up again as restrictions ease, store owners islandwide have seen rental rates rebound to even higher than pre-Covid, some up by 30%.

The proposed amendment has also raised questions over the future of ice sports for local athletes.

As we know, the mall houses Singapore’s sole Olympic-size ice skating rink. At 975.5 square metres, the only other ice skating rink which is located in Leisure Park Kallang. It’s big, but still nowhere near Olympic size.

Upon speaking with The Straits Times, the Singapore Ice Hockey Association and the Singapore Ice Skating Association has said they will work with SportSG to ensure their athletes’ training needs are met, while they await the ice rink’s lease being up in March 2023.

An SportSG spokesman has also said that it is “exploring various options for the ice sports associations’ athletes’ training.”

A Strategic Move By CapitaLand

Many have speculated the reasons for this redevelopment plan.

Some observers cited stiff competition from nearby shopping malls which could have cannibalised JCube’s profits as the reason for the residential use conversion.

Given the development plans currently underway in the region which will enhance the site’s connectivity, a spike in demand for residential homes at the the mall’s current location is also expected.

In line with this, Associate Marketing Professor at Singapore Management University, Seshan Ramaswami, had this to say regarding the move:

“[The proposed move to] convert a mall into a residential building, with just one commercial level reflects the reality of an over-malled city, especially amid a booming e-commerce dominated retail environment”.

He also added that because suburban residents have an abundance of options from new malls and e-commerce sites, some consolidation of malls is thus inevitable and to be expected.

Finance, Economics, and Real Estate professor Agarwal from National University of Singapore has also stated that CapitaLand is likely riding on the property wave given that home prices have been rising increasingly.

He added that it is possible that property prices in Jurong East will hit $2,000 per square foot by the time the development is completed, given that private properties now fetch between $1,500 and $1,800 per square foot in the neighbouring Clementi region.

We’ll just have to wait and see if these plans materialise.

To IMM: You’re a little further out from the MRT than we’d like, but I guess you can join the gang now if JCube leaves us.

If you’re interested in how the Jurong East malls measure up against each other, here’s an ultimate ranking of all the Jurong East malls by a westside resident.

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Featured Image: CapitaLand