According to Mr David Tang, chief executive of Metro’s retail business, Orchard Road should be the street that never sleeps.
He said it would be nice to have a “day Orchard” for shopping and an Orchard that comes alive at night, with restaurants or watering holes that could attract young people too, especially when food as a major draw is what Singapore is good at.
Recent initiatives to attract shoppers back to Orchard includes pedestrianising Orchard Road and including special events to draw crowds. However it is not so simple just to close Orchard Road. The crux of the story is to give the shopper enough reason to return to this prime shopping belt. Shopping is no longer just going to shop somewhere; people are also looking for community places. Thus it is crucial that Orchard Road also becomes a community space for activities, events and for people to hang out.
Blackstone Group plans to sell Sime Darby Centre in Bukit Timah, one of the office and retail assets it acquired last year from Malaysian palm-oil producer Sime Darby Berhad, according to people familiar with the matter.
Located in an ageing commercial block along Dunearn Road and directly in front of King Albert Park MRT station, Sime Darby Centre houses tenants like kitchenware retailer ToTT, Scanteak, Cold Storage and ChildFirst pre-school. The block consists of builtup area of 250,000 sq ft — 80 per cent is office space and the rest is retail. The development sits on freehold and 999-year leasehold land parcels zoned for commercial use and with 1.8 plot ratio.
Blackstone owns a 70 per cent stake in the Sime Darby Centre and Sime owns the rest. The conglomerate, Malaysia’s biggest listed palm-oil producer, sold some property assets in Australia and Singapore to help pare debt.
The site could attract bids from large and mid-sized Singapore developers including Far East Organization, City Developments, Frasers Centrepoint and United Industrial Corp.
The New York-based private equity firm expects to fetch about S$300 million for Sime Darby Centre, which it bought for just under S$200 million last year. Blackstone in May acquired a majority stake in three Singapore property assets, including the Sime Darby Centre, in a deal that valued them at about S$300 million.
Blackstone, which manages more than US$100 billion (S$140 billion) in real estate assets worldwide, in the past has bought residential apartment blocks in Singapore’s prime area.
Owner of the iconic Marina Bay Sands, Las Vegas Sands (LVS), is looking to put up Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) next year. The exclusive rights for LVS to operate the mall MBS was granted from 2007-2017, so that the operator can recoup the billions of dollars in construction costs and investment. The same right has been given to Genting Singapore for Resorts World Sentosa.
The sale of the mall however is subjected to government approval. The operating income is assumed at around US$150m and the valuation of the mall is approximately US$4-5b based on 3-4% cap rate. In first quarter, the mall revenue is at US$39m, hotel room revenue at US$88.9m and Convention/retail/other revenue at US$46m, according to MBS reports.
When the property market is booming and buyers/tenants are plentiful for a limited supply of housing, home owners can afford to do little to invest in the interiors of their assets. Desperate buyers or tenants can commit a premium to a property just based on the location and other attributes other than keeping the interiors pretty.
However in the current lull market, this strategy will definitely put home owners’ assets at a disadvantage. When buyers/tenants are few and the supply is high, one have to upsell one’s property by investing in marketing, including making the property able to sell by itself. Attributes like location, outdoor views and surrounding amenities are usually beyond the home owners’ control after they possessed the property. What is really within a home owner’s control is the interior of the property. A well-maintained and beautiful home interior can be a pleasure to behold even in pictures and videos.
“Home-staging”, a termed coined by the Americans for a decorating technique, is a popular technique to turn a slow-moving listing into a sought-after trophy asset. Home staging including cleaning up, re-arranging the furniture and furnishings, repainting the walls and other sensory improvements to the property during home-viewings. The objective is to make a property to stand out among a buyer’s market, and to sell it faster at a possible higher price.
Some homeowners also engaged staging services from property agents, interior design specialists, furnishings companies and furniture leasing companies to spruce up the home interiors for better visibility among the crowd. Photography is also an important element to entice prospective buyers/tenants even before they view the actual place.
However if one has limited budget and resources to conduct a professional home-staging, here are some tips that one can do on his/her own.
- Declutter. In an urban city like Singapore, clutter can easily built up in a home after purchases after a sales therapy, or due to lack of time to maintain the interiors as a result of work. Clutter makes it hard for prospective buyers/tenants to see the property’s favourable attributes. So by conducting a spring cleaning to remove the clutter in the home will boost a better chance than a cluttered home.
- Keeping it clean. Marketing a uncleaned home to prospective buyers/tenants can be a turn-off. Thus make sure it is generally cleaned before conducting home viewing to prospects. Some key areas of concern include the areas/appliances commonly used by tenants (eg toilet, sofas, kitchen, ovens and stoves, curtains).
- Photography. Online marketing is the norm nowadays for home ads. Taking good photographs to showcase the property potential such as good natural light and large interiors are a must. Thanks to advance in the technology many smartphones can take pictures as good as compact cameras. Together with filters in different apps, the “feel” of the interiors can be adjusted to make a pleasant visual impact.
- Avoid “loud” items. Interior makeup can be quite a personal taste and hence making the interiors as neutral as possible is a important aspect to avoid putting off some of the prospects. Examples include a bright red statue or a neon pink curtains that maybe a home owner’s pride but it can put off some prospective buyers/tenants.
- Play up the good attributes. Decorate a balcony with unblocked view of the neighbourhood to create a warm and inviting atmosphere can be a plus.
- Use scents. Fix the source of bad odours instead of just spraying room scents. Some interesting scents include pumpkin spice or vanilla cookie scented candle to create a post-baking ambience for your home.
Prime location at famous chillout place, at the Dhoby Ghaut/Bras Basah vicinity. 2600-4500 sqft. Rental @ $30K onwards. Suitable for F&B, pub and restaurant space. Call David @ 94772121 for more details.
Went to an Open house at Brentwood Villa and Villa Madeleine this week. There are beautiful houses right at the periphery of Orchard area. Convenience is definitely is an understatement. The interiors were also luxurious. At 2300sqft of luxury living space right in the prestigious district of district 9 it is only at $10k per month ie slightly over $4psf. A bigger house at Villa Madeleine that is twice the size is available for only $15.2k. That’s only $3.7psf.
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