What happened?
The projects Marina One in Marina Bay and The Duo in Bugis was officially opened on the 15 January by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib and PM Lee. The project was by M+S, a joint venture between Temasek Holdings and Malaysia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Khazanah Nasional. Khazanah Nasional has 60 % stake in the joint venture while Temasek Holdings has 40%. The projects cost S$7 Billion and took roughly 4.5 years to complete with its occupancy rate at its opening above market expectations (70% of commercial space and close to 100% of residential space sold). Marina One houses the largest biodiversity garden in the CBD called the Green Heart with the size of about 5 Olympic-sized swimming pools featuring more than 160,000 plants across 390 species amid cascading waterfalls. The Duo houses a boutique-inspired hotel by Hyatt Hotels and Resorts (perfect for you 21st-year-old birthday boys and girls), with a rooftop infinity pool (for your mandatory Instagram stories). Both buildings contain commercial spaces, hosting major companies as tenants like Facebook and Mastercard as well as Active Virgin Fitness Club.

Why is this important?
Most of the existing office buildings in the CBD are not fully technologically optimized, as they were built in the pre-internet age. Marina One and The Duo was built for the new economy and to complement PM Lee’s push for a Smart Nation, attracting firms in the technology arena.

More significantly, Marina One and The Duo were also fruits of the historic land swap deal in 2010 between Singapore and Malaysia which ended a 20-year impasse over the Points of Agreement that was signed in 1990. The buildings are touted as symbols of strong ties between Singapore and Malaysia, as the increased bilateral cooperation has led to the announcement of the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transport (RTS) Link back in 2013. The RTS will ‘boost connectivity, strengthen our economic and business links (which means more shopping for you folks) and enhance people-to-people relations’ (and more cafe hopping) in a statement by Singapore’s Foreign Ministry.

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