A PRIME commercial-zoned piece of vacant land – where the former Queenstown cinema and bowling centre once stood – has been sold for S$78 million. The price for the site, which has a balance lease term of 57 years, is understood to work out to about S$756 per square foot of potential gross floor area.
The site is at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Margaret Drive, located a stone’s throw from Queenstown MRT Station. The site comprises two lots of land adding up to 32,305 sq ft. The Queenstown Public Library – which opened 46 years ago and was granted conservation status in 2013- still stands near the site.
Crescendas Group is selling the property to a company controlled by property developer and investor Cheong Sim Lam, a member of the family that developed International Plaza in Anson Road in the 1970s.
Crescendas was previously granted written permission to redevelop the site into a seven-storey commercial building but that approval has since lapsed and the new owner will have to make a fresh application for the site’s redevelopment. Under the Urban Redevelompment Authority’s Master Plan 2014, the site is zoned for commercial use.
Based on the land price of around S$756 per square foot per plot ratio, a new commercial development on the site could breakeven at about S$1,800-1,900 psf, say market watchers. The buyer, Mr Cheong, has been in the news in recent years for his property investments in the Central Business District. He bought two adjacent office buildings at 137 and 139 Cecil Street around 2009 but sold them in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
Along Marine Parade Central, he is developing a four-storey commercial building named IMall, on the former Republic Theatre site.
By the first quarter of 2018, all 10,700 industrial units and 540 land leases under the Housing & Development Board (HDB) will be consolidated under JTC, a single agency offering one-stop access to a full range of Singapore’s public-sector industrial facilities.
The properties will be transferred from HDB’s portfolio to JTC’s at net book value.
Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang said this will better support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their business growth.
The government will be able to undertake more comprehensive master-planning of industrial estates across Singapore; the move will also facilitate more efficient clustering of complementary activities and integration of activities along the value chain.
JTC wants to bring HDB tenants under its fold to offer them the same support that JTC tenants under the parentage of the Ministry of Trade and Industry enjoy, and to enhance their productivity and transform them into more competitive enterprises. (HDB falls under the Ministry of National Development.
One common problem HDB industrial tenants face lies in finding adjacent space into which to expand; many end up taking space in multiple venues, sometimes across the island. What JTC can offer SMEs is contiguous large floor plates in its own facilities.
It can also help SMEs plan ahead, by charting their growth trajectories and anticipating their future needs. JTC can provide, not just bigger spaces, but also land for expansion.
Guoxin Manufacturing is one example of an HDB tenant that is moving into a 1,180 sq m space at JTC Space @ Tampines North; this is twice the amount of space it used to occupy over five different units in Tuas and Ubi.
All HDB tenants and lessees affected by the consolidation will continue to be served by the same team of 160 HDB officers, who will be transferred to JTC. JTC also gave the assurance that the contracted terms and conditions of their tenancies and leases with HDB will remain.
JR Kyushu, which is benefiting from a tourism boom with record numbers of visitors to Japan, gets most of its profits from real estate and station buildings. The company said in its mid-term plan it aims to spend 80 billion yen over three years on some sectors that will help boost sales from non-rail sources as the population on the island declines.
It was seeking to raise as much as 416 billion yen in an IPO, and planned to reduce its reliance on Japan by investing in residential and office properties in Southeast Asia.
Investing in Southeast Asia will be a first for the company, which owns five restaurants in China. Japan makes up almost all of the company’s revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In addition to real estate, the company also operates restaurants in Shanghai and Tokyo. JR Central, the nation’s busiest bullet train operator, also has a restaurant in London.
According to the Chairman, Southeast Asia offers huge growth potential for JR Kyushu. JR Kyushu plans to expand its non-rail sales to more than 62 percent of revenue by March 2019, from 57.5 percent in the year ended March 2012, according to the mid-term plan. Sales are forecast to increase to 400 billion yen in the same period, from 333 billion yen seven years earlier.
The company expects at least as many tourists to Kyushu this year as the 2.8 million who visited last year, as the island recovers from the earthquakes in Kumamoto prefecture in April, Karaike said.
“Foreign visitors from Asia used to come to Japan for the purpose of massive shopping, but their interest is shifting to culture, history, dining, and other aspects that are only available in Japan,” the executive said.
Based in Fukuoka City, about 890 kilometers (550 miles) southwest of Tokyo, the JR Kyushu is benefiting from record overseas visitors to Japan, spurring demand for its hotels, shops and restaurants, as well as train travel. Visitors to Kyushu from overseas reached 2.8 million last year, more than doubling from 1.3 million two years earlier, according to the transport ministry.