Shopee and its parent Sea are consolidating their Singapore footprints in Science Park One-North

Sea’s lease will expire in late 2029.

Sea occupies approximately 44,000 sq.ft. on two floors in the Solaris, 1 Fusionopolis Way (owned privatised Soilbuild Business Space Reit), and the lease is due to end at the end of this year.

It is said in the market that Sea had stated its intention to give that space up, and that the landlord has now found a suitable tenant from the health sector for one floor. Sea is due to vacate it in a couple of months. The search is on for a tenant for the second floor.

Shopee occupies all of Science Park Drive, 5 Science Park Drive, under a long term lease with CapitaLand Development.

The six-storey commercial park property with an approximate 240,000 square feet of net leasable area was completed in 2018.

SEA Ltd. – the parent of ecommerce site Shopee – is consolidating its Singapore footprint to two main buildings – Rochester Commons and 5, Science Park Drive – as opposed to the four main offices it is currently leasing in one North and Singapore Science Park.

The Business Times had reported, in November 20, 2022, Sea was seeking to replace its tenant at the roughly 200,000sq ft of offices it had leased near the Buonavista Station interchange MRT from CapitaLand Development.

The 2.4-hectare campus also features 12 heritage black-andwhite bungalows, some of which are used as office space, and others for F&B and retail.

Watchers in the industry said the project has been completed in phases, in the second halves of 2022. But the space that Sea was leased for, they say, is still unoccupied.

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The Singapore-based New York Stock Exchange-listed company is expected to furnish and move into its premises.

Justification of a new strategy

Some market watchers suggested Sea changed its Rochester Commons strategy, partly because the company may have struggled to find just one replacement tenant willing and able to commit to a lease for 200,000 sq.ft.

A business leasing agent stated that as Sea’s leases are expiring in the next few months at Galaxis Building and Solaris Building, it is more logical for the company to occupy Rochester Commons without paying any penalty.

Galaxis has been the base of operations for Sea’s headquarters as well as Garena, its game-development division and publishing arm. This is located directly next to MRT station one-north.

Sea leases large amounts of space for business parks – around 270,000 sq.ft. according to some reports – from CapitaLand Ascendas Reit.

Seas will face tougher operating conditions

Sea is experiencing tougher operating environments, especially in ecommerce, where Shopee is facing fierce competition in the area, from TikTok Shop Indonesia (the merged entity) and GoTo Tokopedia’s Tokopedia. But also Lazada online fast-fashion retailer Shein as well Boston-based marketplace Temu.

Sea’s recent decision to occupy the offices they have leased at Rochester Commons is a good thing. It has helped to reduce the amount of shadow office space available in Singapore. The term refers the excess space of an existing contract that a landlord would like to get rid of by finding new tenants.

CBRE Research data show that Singapore’s shadow offices shrank in size from 700,000.00 sq.ft. to 170,000.00 sq.ft. by Q4 2020.

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