Marine and Energy Service Provider selling 5 industrial sites

Wartsila Singapore, which provides services for the marine and energy power plant sectors, was looking to sell five industrial properties in the west. The sites at 11 Pandan Crescent and 14 Benoi Crescent were considered to be sold with leaseback arrangements.

The other three att 43, 45 and 47 Gul Drive were marketed to be outright sales with vacant possession on completion.

The Finland-listed Wartsila is reducing its asset load to focus on core operations, and has also sold assets in Finland. Wartsila Singapore, which was set up here in 1982 and has more than 1,000 employees, plans to lease back the properties at 11 Pandan Crescent and 14 Benoi Crescent and continue to house its staff here.

There was intention to spend about $20 million on 11 Pandan Crescent – which has three factory-cum-workshops, a canteen and a five-storey ancillary office block, and land area of about 35,500 sq m, including 3,110 sq m of waterfront land facing the Pandan River.Wartsila will also spend about $6 million on 14 Benoi Crescent, which has a front-facing three-storey ancillary office block, and a single-storey factory-cum-workshop at the back, with a land area of about 9,860 sq m. The indicative asking prices were $40 million for 11 Pandan Crescent and $11 million for 14 Benoi Crescent.

The two sites could also attract developers and fund managers who are looking for high-yielding assets with (a) strong tenant brand name and stable income to add to their industrial portfolio.

The asking prices were $8 million for 43 Gul Drive, $6.4 million for No. 45 and $5.7 million for No. 47. They range from $230 psf to $288 psf on existing floor areas. The divestment via an expression-of-interest exercise closed at 3pm, on Friday, Oct 14.

139 Cecil Street now majority owned by Zhou family from Shanghai

Formerly named Cecil House and now known as DB2Land Building, 139 Cecil Street has an estimated land area of 7,936 sq ft. The approved GFA for the addition and alteration works reflects an 11.2 plot ratio (ratio of maximum GFA to land area) – the same plot ratio stipulated under URA’s Master Plan 2014 for the commercial-zoned site.

Under the proposed refurbishment granted written permission by URA last year, there will be food and beverage use on the first storey, offices from the second to 14th floors and a mechanised car park from basement to the fifth storey. The 16th storey will have a communal roof terrace and F&B space.

The Zhou family from Shanghai who picked up an office block at 137 Cecil Street last year has bought a 60 per cent stake in the company that owns the next-door property at 139 Cecil Street.

The latest deal is said to value the 11-storey property at S$140 million. It is on a site with 99-year leasehold tenure starting Aug 20, 1981, which means the balance lease is around 64 years.

Written permission was granted last year by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for a major refurbishment exercise to build additional floors, extending the block to 16 storeys. These works could cost about S$20 million.

The Zhou family has paid S$75 million for a 60 per cent stake in Ececil Pte Ltd, which owns 139 Cecil Street, to a joint venture between Vibrant Group and DB2 Group. Vibrant announced the completion of the sale in a regulatory filing last week. The Vibrant-DB2 joint venture continues to hold the remaining 40 per cent in Ececil. It acquired 100 per cent of Ececil in 2014 from Cheong Sim Lam in a deal that valued the office block at S$110 million.

The major refurbishment, or “addition and alteration” works, will see the gross floor area (GFA) of the property increase from 68,809 sq ft currently to 88,886 sq ft; the latter figure is estimated to yield about 75,300 sq ft strata area.

The next-door property at 137 Cecil Street, which was once known as Aviva Building, is now named Hengda Building after the Zhou family’s Shanghai Hengda Group, which is involved in real estate and other businesses.

Mr Cheong, a member of the family that developed International Plaza in the 1970s, gained control of the two adjacent buildings from Yi Kai Group and Fission Group shortly after the duo teamed up to acquire the two properties in July 2009 for S$100.80 million.

The Verge found a new buyer at S$190m

In Aug 2016, PROPERTY developer Lum Chang Holdings has entered into a term sheet to acquire a vehicle that owns eight-level (six storeys and two basement levels) The Verge mall in Serangoon Road.

The vehicle, Corwin Holding, also owns another eight-storey building called Chill @The Verge. Lum Chang said that The Verge has a total gross floor area of 238,527 square feet and is encumbered. It did not disclose an acquisition sum, but said that it will start due diligence and negotiations with the sellers of the vehicle. It said that it aimed to agree on the terms for the proposed deal within an exclusivity period of four weeks or another mutually set date.

The sellers of Corwin Holding are HICOM Megah Sdn Bhd, Mohamed Mustafa and Samsuddin Co Pte Ltd and BI Distributors Pte Ltd.

In September, the joint venture between Singapore- listed Lum Chang Holdings and a closed-end fund of LaSalle Investment Management Asia on Thursday signed a conditional share sale agreement to go ahead with the acquisition of The Verge, a struggling mall in Little India.

September sees a string of commercial property transactions

A string of commercial property transactions has taken place recently.These include a 12-storey freehold office block at 110 Robinson Road, owned by OCBC, which has sold it to Indonesian tycoon Tahir. The price is understood to be S$45.1 million or nearly S$3,169 per square foot based on the net lettable area of 14,233 sq ft. The property is between Finexis Building at 108 Robinson Road and Robinson 112.

Four adjoining strata office units at The Adelphi, a 999-year leasehold property near City Hall MRT station, are being sold for S$20.7 million or about S$2,365 psf on the total strata area of 8,751 sq ft. The buyer is believed to be the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL).

Also changing hands are six of the nine strata retail units on the second level of Holland Road Shopping Centre. Various members of the Lim family behind Lim’s Arts and Living have picked up five retail units. The units are part of nine units on the second level of the four-storey mall that were put up for tender by CBRE on behalf of their owners, two companies controlled by the Lim family. A sixth unit has been sold to an unrelated party. The six units, with sizes between 237 sq ft and 732 sq ft, were transacted at S$4,346 psf to S$5,403 psf. Absolute prices ranged from S$1.12 million to S$3.95 million.
A 4,962 sq ft strata freehold industrial unit on the second level of 211 Henderson, which has also been sold for S$2.98 million or S$600.56 psf.

77 Robinson Road under Due Diligence

Formerly known as Singapore Airlines (SIA) building, the 35-storey office tower has been selected by CLSA Capital Partners to do exclusive diligence for purchase. The pricing is above S$530m or S$1800 psf based on net lettable area (NLA) of nearly 293,270 sqft. The maximum development potential has been tapped. The zoning of the site is commercial use with a balance lease tenure of 76.5 years.

Japan’s real estate revival depends on BOJ

Offices, apartments and hotels are popping up in major cities across Japan as the BOJ’s quantitative easing and negative interest rates push bank lending to real estate developers to an all-time high.

Many developers and analysts expect the construction boom, and its economic benefits, to continue ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics – a welcome and very visible sign of success for the BOJ.

Real estate lending began its revival after the BOJ started quantitative easing in early 2013. It gathered pace after the central bank’s shock introduction of negative interest rates in January, which has crushed earnings and sent banks hunting for higher returns.

Domestic bank lending to the real estate sector rose 6.5 percent to 67.7 trillion yen (509 billion pounds) in the first quarter, the highest on record, according to BOJ data. The sector accounted for 14.5 percent of all domestic bank lending, the highest in five-and-a-half years.

Activity in the real estate sector is one bright spot in an otherwise disappointing assessment of Abe’s economic policies, known as “Abenomics.” Tourism-related spending is driving much of the recent activity.

Nationwide, construction of hotels and restaurants, measured by square metres, surged 93.6 percent in June from a year ago, the biggest increase in more than two years, land ministry data show.

The number of tourists visiting Japan is already at a record high after an easing of visa requirements. With Tokyo preparing to welcome visitors for the Olympics and rural areas also attracting more visitors, Japan could face a national shortage of around 41,000 hotel rooms by 2020.

Public works investment, including hotels and infrastructure for tourists, is the centrepiece of the government’s next stimulus package. Other property types are also seeing growth.

Office space in central Tokyo rose 1.7 percent in June from a year ago, the fastest gain since April 2013, data from office broker and research firm Miki Shoji Co show. In another welcome sign, growth has not been restricted to Tokyo alone. In central Nagoya, office space in June rose at the fastest annual pace in almost seven years, even if the market has been more subdued in Osaka.

And although residential housing starts fell in June for the first time in six months, the number of units is still at the highest level in a year, according to land ministry figures.

The economic benefits are considerable. The real estate and construction industries combined accounted for almost 18 percent of gross domestic product in 2014, the most recent year Cabinet Office data are available. The two sectors employ 10 percent of the workforce and have been advertising to hire more workers since late last year. More jobs means more consumption, not to mention the extra spending associated with moving into a new office or apartment.

The rise in activity has also begun feeding into wages. Wages for workers in property and leasing rose 7.3 percent in May from the same period a year ago, the fastest gain in two years, according to labour ministry data.

While wages in the construction sector fell an annual 1.4 percent in the same month, economists say a chronic shortage of construction workers should boost wages soon.

One concern was that Japan’s declining workforce means the replacement of older office buildings with shiny new ones has already exceeded demand.  Yet, last year nationwide land prices rose a mere 0.2 percent, according to the National Tax Agency, while commercial land prices rose 0.9 percent, land ministry data show. Both were the first gains in eight years – hardly the stuff of bubbles.

 

 

Heritage building affected by the new Tunnel along NSC

Part of a 1924 building at the edge of Selegie Road will be demolished, and later rebuilt, to make way for the construction of the North- South Corridor. This is despite the Ellison Building’s status as a conserved structure gazetted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Three of the building’s 16 two- storey units will be torn down. The affected units – 235, 237 and 239 – currently occupied by a mama shop, Colonial Bistro Cafe and part of a fruit shop, are along the building’s curved facade.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will reconstruct and reinstate the affected part of the government-owned building to its original architectural design, under the URA’s guidance, once construction of the tunnel is completed in 2026.

The Ellison Building was built in 1924 by Isaac Ellison, a Romanian Jew. It could have been built for his wife Flora, a Baghdadi Jewish woman from Rangoon, the former capital of Myanmar.
The building has two domes and balconies. The Star of David, the Ellison name and its date of construction still sit proudly atop the relatively rundown building. Lying at the foot of the Mount Sophia conservation area, it is located within the former Jewish quarters. Some records also indicate that the building had been sold to the Government in the late 1980s.The new expressway needs to be as straight as possible to accommodate higher speeds. It said acquisitions along the route, including Rochor Centre, were necessary because of the highly built up area that includes Bukit Timah Road and Rochor Canal.

Construction of the 21.5km underground corridor is expected to take place progressively from next year.

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