SLA fact sheet: SLA awards Upper Thomson property to James Cook University

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  • More foreign systems school take up State properties as campuses
  • SLA sees increase in education sector growth double year-on-year

            More operators of commercial and foreign systems schools are turning to State properties as campuses. There has been strong interest and demand from this education sector.  The latest award by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) for commercial school use went to JCU Singapore Pte Ltd. The former Nanyang Institute of Management at 600 Upper Thomson Road, with a land area of 18,534.9 square metres and Gross Floor Area (GFA) of 6,031.5 square metres, attracted two bids, with JCU Singapore Pte Ltd putting in a bid of $185,500 per month, almost double the guide rental of $100,700 per month. It comprises 2 blocks of three storey buildings with covered linkways, 5 single storey blocks and a substation. The tenancy is renewable on terms up to 2017.  

2          The property at 600 Upper Thomson Road is nestled within Sembawang Hills and Lower Peirce Reservoir. It is conveniently located near the Sembawang Hill food centre as well as famous eateries such as the roti prata shops along Casuarina Road. It is also next to the main road with easy access to public transport.

3          Professor Sandra Harding, Vice-Chancellor and President of James Cook University said: “We intend to significantly refurbish the buildings to meet student and staff needs. Our Singapore Campus is a crucial element in JCU’s strategy to serve the peoples of the tropics and our investment in creating a new and bigger campus is proof of our solid commitment to the University’s future in Singapore, and our aim to add to the nation’s talent pool.” Dr Dale Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of JCU Singapore, said the new Campus would have state of the art classrooms with high levels of learning technology. He added: “Our University has world class e-learning facilities and these will be linked to the new Campus. It provides a good study environment with large trees, cool shady areas and the opportunity to build a really student friendly environment.” He said the site had a lot of potential for students with good accommodation near by and good food outlets.

4          In 2007, a total of about 40,400 sqm in Gross Floor Area (GFA) or five State properties were tenanted out as commercial schools. Some of them are 371 Tanjong Katong Road, 9 Ah Hood Road, 51 Jalan Rajah, 10 and 12 Chai Chee Lane and the former NParks Bedok Depot at Upper East Coast Road.  

5          The former ITE Balestier at 90 Jalan Rajah and a former camp next to it at 92 Jalan Rajah with a combined site area of over 21,650 sqm, were successfully awarded to Navitas Limited (formerly known as IBT Education Limited). It will be used for education purpose with tenure up to 2017.  Its bid was above the guide rental at $192,000 in monthly rent. 

6          The former Lee Kuo Chuan Primary School at 9 Ah Hood Road was recently warded to EASB Institute of Management Pte Ltd, which has teamed up with Queen Margaret University to set up its first offshore campus by April this year.  The property has an estimated land area of 17,634.7 square metres and a GFA of 11,176.1 square metres. EASB Institute of Management Pte Ltd had put in a bid of $210,000, about 30 per cent above the guide rental.  Also, the former Moulmein Primary School in 51 Jalan Rajah was awarded to Indian School Pte Ltd.  7 Mount Sophia, formerly the Trinity College, had been awarded to Westminister Unicampus Pte Ltd.  The same tenant was also awarded the former Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre for a 3-year tenure term at more than double the guide rent. 

7          At Tanglin Village, SLA’s 40-hectare former camp site’s latest tenant, namely the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, will be setting up its new and expanded campus and global schoolhouse over 3 buildings at 71, 72 and 73 Loewen Road by 2009.

8          Mr Simon Ong elaborated, “In recent years, there has been strong interest and demand by operators from both commercial and foreign systems schools, in taking up our State properties. There have been many successful adaptive reuses from a former school, army camp to learning of the arts and academic pursuits. The ease of adaptability help tenants get their operations up and running sooner and at lower start-up costs.”  

9          Another State property at 95 Tampines Road, recently attracted four bids at tender opening. Columbia School of Business Studies Pte Ltd and TCC International Hotel School Pte Ltd both put in top bids at a tendered monthly rent of $9,800. The site has an estimated land area of 1,875.5 sqm and a GFA of 1109.0 sqm. The guide rental is $9,400 per month and the tenancy is till 2011. The site is currently under evaluation for award.  

10        Besides tertiary institutions, many pre-schools and childcare centres that cater to both foreigners and locals are also increasingly situated on State property. Currently, SLA has 43 State properties rented for kindergarten/childcare or pre-school use.  The number of pre-schools and childcare centres taking up State properties had increased from 36 in 2005 to 39 and 43 in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The rate of renewal for State properties rented for such uses is also equally high. On the appeal of State properties for such uses, Mr Simon Ong said, “Our State properties are easily adapted at lower start-up costs and are perfect fits for use as classroom spaces and schools for the local and expatriate communities.  The buildings are also spacious in space with lush greenery for the children to enjoy in a natural classroom setting near Mother Nature. In addition, our properties are also located island-wide and hence provide many choices for pre-school operators.” For example, EtonHouse is currently using eight State properties for their pre-schools and the EtonHouse International School. The latest one which they had tenanted from SLA was at 21 West Coast Road, which EtonHouse plans to use as a Japanese kindergarten and pre-school.

11        For more information on these properties, please visit SLA’s State Property and Information Online (SPIO) web portal (, or call the SPIO hotline at 6323 9154.


Issued by:
Singapore Land Authority (SLA)
March 2008

Photo of 600 Upper Thomson Road

Annex A

Some examples of State Properties leased out in 2007 as commercial schools use
Property GFA (sqm) Awardee’s Name Award Value
371 Tanjong Katong Road 7,051.0 Canadian International School Pte Ltd $82,000
51 Jalan Rajah, 11,176 EASB Institute of Management Pte Ltd $210,000
51 Jalan Rajah, 9,094 Indian School Pte Ltd $168,510
10 and 12 Chai Chee Lane 12,638.5 International Learning Pte Ltd $88,000
Former NParks
Bedok Depot at
Upper East Coast Road
440.1 Hemsdale Management School Pte Ltd $6,000