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Singtel splashes $1.5B to redevelop headquarters for 'sustainable workspaces'

Singapore telco is dishing out at least SG$2 billion ($1.49 billion) to redevelop its Comcentre headquarters, located along the Orchard Road shopping strip, as a smart building that showcases "greener" and sustainable designs for its employees and future tenants.
eileen-yu
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor on

Singtel has unveiled plans to dish out at least SG$2 billion ($1.49 billion) to redevelop its global headquarters. Located along Singapore's Orchard Road shopping strip, the new site is pitched as a smart building that will showcase sustainable workspace designs for the telco's employees and future tenants. 

Called Comcentre, the building has sat on its current plot since 1979 and occupies an area of 19,252 square metres. The planned redevelopment is estimated to cost at least SG$2 billion ($1.49 billion), including land costs, Singtel said in a statement Wednesday. 

The Singapore telco said it would divest ownership of the building as part of its "capital recycling strategy" to a joint venture to be formed with an appointed estate developer. Singtel would hold a majority stake in the joint venture. 

It added that it was in the process of confirming the developer from a shortlist of two. The tender process would close next month, with a decision to be made in May, according to Singtel.  

The telco said it would be the anchor tenant of the new development, taking up some 30% of the space. The rest would be leased out to tenants seeking offices in the area, providing additional recurring income for Singtel in the long term, it said. 

Slated for completion by end-2028, the redeveloped site is expected to span a gross floor area of more than 110,000 square metres comprising office buildings, and a retail component. It also will comprise Singtel's  Orchard Exchange, which currently hosts telecommunications infrastructure. 

The telco said it had secured in-principal approval from Singapore Land Authority to extend its lease on all lots within Comcentre to 2089. 

The office buildings on the redeveloped site would feature "more open and digital" areas that facilitate a collaborative environment and provide tenants with "optimised hybrid workspaces", Singtel said.  

Singtel Group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon said: "We're truly excited to be working with the authorities to rejuvenate the Orchard Road precinct to prepare for the post-pandemic world and reinvigorate our future workplaces... Maximising the unique development potential of Comcentre will significantly enhance its value in a vicinity where Grade A office developments are in short supply. We strive to optimise the capital we can unlock from existing assets to fund our growth initiatives, including 5G and the regional expansion of our data centre business.

"The new Comcentre will cater to our evolving business needs and showcase the digital workplace of the future featuring 5G solutions... The redevelopment of our headquarters also supports our vision to build a greener and sustainable future, and will further facilitate our efforts to reach net zero for our own operations," Yuen said. 

Preparation for the redevelopment would begin in 2024, when employees would move to temporary spaces at Singtel's other premises across Singapore. 

The telco last year kickstarted a business transformation it dubbed a "strategic reset". Two other local telcos StarHub and M1 also made similar moves and all three companies saw leadership changes in recent years. StarHub's Nikhil Eapen took on the CEO role in January 2021, after a months-long search, while Yuen assumed his current role in January last year and M1 CEO Manjot Singh Mann took over the helm in December 2018.

In a separate announcement Tuesday, Singtel launched a new orchestration platform for 5G edge computing and cloud services. Dubbed Paragon, the new offering was touted to allow enterprise customers to tap the telco's 5G network on-demand and roll out mission-critical applications on its MEC (Multi-access Edge Compute) infrastructure. Customers also would be able to access applications offered by Singtel's partners as well as deploy them in a hybrid environment, comprising Singtel's edge and a public cloud platform. 

"Many enterprises are undergoing rapid digitalisation while exploring and developing tailored 5G solutions for deployment in their industries," said Singtel's enterprise group CEO Bill Chang. "We understand the challenges and complexities they face in managing the various networks, edge cloud applications, and services with the required cybersecurity, resiliency, and demanding service assurances required, cost-effectively. Paragon was conceived, developed, and delivered to help enterprises meet these needs through a single platform."

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