one-north: A vibrant centre of innovation
Being in the right space can help businesses forge fruitful collaborations and accelerate their growth.
Conceived in the 1990s, one-north was a bold, mixed-development project meant to reposition Singapore as a knowledge economy amid a changing global landscape. Built around industry-focused hubs – such as Biopolis, Fusionopolis and Mediapolis – one-north aims to support the growth of Singapore’s biomedical sciences, infocommunications technology and new media.
Since its inception, the 200-hectare one-north district has become a vibrant centre of innovation with a buzzing technopreneur community of venture capitalists, innovators, students, researchers and media enterprises. Its prime location near research and tertiary institutions such as the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) helps facilitate cross-fertilisation of ideas and collaborations among academic, industry and public research.
While the launch of one-north was led by the Government, the private sector has played a key role to help the area realise its ambitions. One early private sector player in one-north’s development was Ascendas-Singbridge, which has built key properties in the area’s biomedical, media and IT clusters.
As part of the Biomedical Hub at Biopolis, Ascendas-Singbridge’s Nucleos, Neuros and Immunos buildings offer ready-made solutions for research labs, and are home to A*STAR, the Government’s lead agency for supporting research and development (R&D).
Nearby, Mediapolis is home to Infinite Studios, a media entertainment and creative services company. Housing state-of-the-art multipurpose soundstages and audio studios, Infinite Studios is equipped for high-quality production of film, video, animation, games, as well as interactive and digital media.
Technology and media enterprises are also well supported at Ascendas-Singbridge’s buildings at Fusionopolis. Completed in 2017, Galaxis provides leading-edge business spaces that come with diverse work-live and retail options, and houses tech players such as internet platform Sea that operates e-commerce platform Shopee and gaming platform Garena. Just a stone’s throw away at Nexus, media companies like Fox Studios have set up offices and production studios to take advantage of the media community there.
THE BENEFITS OF CLUSTERING
The development of industry clusters at one-north yields tremendous benefits for tenants by fostering collaboration among like-minded companies and individuals.
Reflecting the attractiveness of this ecosystem concept, Grab – South-east Asia’s biggest ride-hailing company – recently signed a lease with Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (Ascendas REIT) to house its headquarters at one-north. It benefits from its proximity to the start-ups, tertiary and research institutions in one-north, which will boost its new R&D centre slated to be its largest globally.
The greater one-north, encompassing Singapore Science Park 1 & 2 and JTC’s Launchpad start-up hub, is home to R&D and technology companies. While the Science Parks’ campus-like landscapes evoke a Silicon Valley atmosphere that is conducive for research collaboration, JTC Launchpad features one of the densest start-up hotspots in Singapore. Together, they add to the vibrancy of the research and technology start-up community in the area.
WORK, LIVE, GROW, PLAY
A prime location and supporting amenities make one-north an exciting workspace alternative to offices in the central business district (CBD).
In terms of transportation, one-north tends to be less crowded than the CBD. The main MRT station of Buona Vista is served by two MRT lines (East-West line and Circle line) while the one-north station is located on the Circle line. Those who drive to work will appreciate the fewer ERP charges in the area, as well as the lower parking costs. Shuttle buses ply the park while new mobility solutions like autonomous vehicles are being pilot-tested at one-north.
The array of food options in the area is diverse, such as Timbre+ and the newly opened Deliveroo Food Market, as well as food centres in the adjacent neighbourhoods of Ghim Moh, Dover and Holland Village. With its proximity to greenery and parks, one-north also offers a big dose of nature that cannot be found in downtown Singapore.
On the accommodation front, one-north features plenty of residential options for short or longer-term stays. These include the serviced apartments Citadines Fusionopolis, the five-star hotel Park Avenue Rochester, as well as public and private residential housing in nearby estates.
A PARTNER TO TENANTS
Beyond being a landlord at one-north, Ascendas-Singbridge prides itself on growing with its tenants. It has partnered with MyTona, a global gaming developer, to assist with its growth plans and enable its innovation activities.
“MyTona’s Singapore office has been in one-north for four years, and we still enjoy being in this area,” said MyTona branch manager Madeline Ng. “MyTona is a fast-paced gaming company that is expanding tremendously. Ascendas-Singbridge has helped MyTona to expand within the one-north area, where a bigger area of space within the Nexus building is identified for MyTona’s business consolidation.”
Ascendas-Singbridge is continuing to roll out new developments in the greater one-north area to support the growth of its tenants. One such initiative is a mixed-used project, Rochester Commons, which aims to be Asia’s premier leadership hub for corporations and start-ups to develop next-generation, world-class leaders.
As part of Singapore’s plan to boost R&D activities on its shores, one-north is set to grow even further. Following a review of the National Research Foundation’s five-year Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan, the Government will allocate more funds to R&D in three areas: Digital technology, cell therapy manufacturing, and sustainable urban food production.
Sited strategically at the nexus of these emerging trends, the greater one-north ecosystem is well-positioned to capitalise on the Government’s investment and continue to realise its vision as a fertile space for research and innovation.
Article first published on CNA on 13 May 2019.
1. Ascendas-Singbridge is now a member of CapitaLand Singapore