Shopee’s parent Sea is seen consolidating Singapore’s footprint in Science Park, one-north.

Citadines Connect Rochester Singapore is also located in the tower, a serviced apartment with a hotel-licence .

The shadow office space will likely increase in Singapore this year, as major banks and tech companies layoff employees from the US.

The campus style development, which is spread over a 2.4-hectare area, also includes 12 heritage bungalows in black and white. Some of these are used for offices, while others serve as F&B spaces or retail areas.

According to industry observers, although the project was completed over several phases during the second half in 2022, the Sea space has not yet been occupied.

The Singaporean group listed on the New York Stock Exchange is expected move into and fit out its premises.

Change in Strategy: Why it is Needed

Some market analysts suggested Sea changed their strategy for Rochester Commons because it was difficult to find one tenant to take on the entire 200,000 sq. ft. of office space for a long-term lease.

The agent suggested that because the leases for two of the buildings Sea occupies – Galaxis, and Solaris – are about to expire in the near future, it makes more sense to move the group into Rochester Commons.

Galaxis, the headquarters of Sea and its game-development unit Garena are currently located in the MRT station One-North.

Sea leases an impressive amount of space in this building that is owned by CapitaLand Ascendas Reit. Some sources claim it’s about 270,000 square feet.

Sea’s Lease is slated to expire late next

Sea occupies 2 floors in the Solaris Building at 1 Fusionopolis walk (owned and operated by the Soilbuild Business Space Reit), which is owned by the privateised Soilbuild Business Space Reit. The lease had originally been scheduled to expire late this year.

Market rumours say that Sea has expressed its intent to vacate that floor. As a result, the landlord found a new tenant for that floor, who is from the healthcare sector. Sea will be expected to vacate that floor within the next few month. The search for a new tenant is ongoing.

Shopee, meanwhile, occupies 5 Science Park Drive as part of a long-term agreement with CapitaLand Development.

The six-storey building, which has a total net lettable space of approximately 240,000 sq ft, was completed by 2019.

Sea refused to comment upon being contacted by BT.

Sea still has a little over a year left before its lease ends at Galaxis. Some analysts believe this is a good thing, since it may need some extra time to finish the refurbishment of the new office space at Rochester Commons.

Sea might still be able to retain some space within Galaxis. One observer noted that the situation is fluid.

BT learned that Sea was planning to lease the space in the Science Park Drive business park from CapitaLand Development. This is the same building where Shopee currently has a lease.

Sea is said have cancelled the deal sometime in Q2 of 2023 and forfeited its deposit paid to CapitaLand.

Seas are operating under more stringent conditions

Sea will face tougher operating circumstances, particularly in the ecommerce space. Shopee faces aggressive competition from not only the merged entity TikTok Shop Indonesia & GoTo’s Tokopedia but also Lazada, online fast fashion retailer Shein, and Boston based marketplace Temu.

The positive side of this is that Sea’s decision, to occupy the office space it has leased in Rochester Commons, has significantly contributed to the decline in the shadow office stock in Singapore. The term refers a surplus space that the tenant is willing to give away by finding another tenant to replace them.

CBRE Research data revealed that Singapore’s shadow office space shrank from approximately 700,000 square feet in Q1 to Q4 of 2023.

SEA Ltd. is the parent company of ecommerce platform Shopee. It plans to consolidate their Singapore footprint from four buildings that they currently lease in one-north or Singapore Science Park into just two – Rochester Commons & 5 Science Park Drive.

The Business Times reported that in November 2022 Sea was searching for a replacement tenant in Rochester Commons close to the Buonavista interchange station MRT station. The office space leased by CapitaLand Development at approximately 200,000 square feet.

Market rumor has it that Sea decided last year to stop searching for a new tenant for this space. The group’s ten-year lease is believed to cover the entire development. The space is on the upper floor of the Rochester Commons 17-storey building.

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