Seeking talent, social media firms take up prime locations in CBD

May 6, 20149:44 am305 views
Seeking talent, social media firms take up prime locations in CBD
Seeking talent, social media firms take up prime locations in CBD

SINGAPORE — Social media companies such as LinkedIn and Facebook are taking office space in the central business district here because they want to attract the best talent, said Mr Chris Archibold, international director and head of markets at property agency Jones Lang LaSalle in Singapore, as the tech giants displace large banks in some prime locations.

Barclays, the second-largest United Kingdom bank by assets, has given up two storeys of prime office space at Tower 2 of the Marina Bay Financial Centre that has been leased to LinkedIn, people familiar with the matter said.

The bank has surrendered about 60,000sqf of office space to the landlord, one of the people said.

Barclays declined to comment. A LinkedIn spokesman declined to comment on the move but said the company has one million users in Singapore and 50 million in the Asia-Pacific region.

Monthly rents at the property are now between S$11 and S$12 per square foot, compared with S$10 and S$11 per square foot when Barclays moved into the building in 2011, said Mr Donald Han, managing director of Chesterton Singapore, a real estate consulting company.

“Social media companies like Facebook and LinkedIn are taking office space in the central business district in Singapore, whereas in other cities, you won’t find them in the CBD,” said Mr Archibold.

The Singapore office of social networking site Twitter is also in the central business district.

LinkedIn, the biggest online professional networking service with more than 300 million members, opened its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore in 2011. The company’s office is currently in AXA Tower, in an older part of the central business district.

LinkedIn last week gave a second-quarter sales forecast that missed analysts’ estimates. Its revenue in the quarter will be US$500 million (S$624 million) to US$505 million, the United States firm said. Analysts on average had been projecting sales of US$505.5 million, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

Office rents in Singapore — which is ranked by Cushman & Wakefield as the most affordable of the top five major financial centres, which also include London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York — are rebounding as robust demand and high occupancy rates reinforce the bargaining power of landlords.

Rents in Singapore’s central business district are expected to rise as much as 15 per cent this year, DTZ Holdings said.

Barclays will terminate its lease on about 15,500sqf of office space in a building in Tampines and relocate the employees to Marina Bay Financial Centre by July, people familiar with the matter said last month. This follows a similar move earlier this year when the bank exited Changi Business Park.

It occupies about 290,000sqf at Marina Bay Financial Centre and has another 96,000sqf at One Raffles Quay.



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