Category Archives: Leisure and recreation

Queenstown site bid signals positive market sentiment

A large residential site in Queenstown able to yield about 1,110 units has been triggered for sale, in a sign of improving market sentiment. A developer committed to bid at least $685.25 million for a 2.11ha Stirling Road site. The site has been on the Government Land Sales reserve list since March 2010, which was made up of two adjacent sites once offered separately but merged into one site in 2012.

The 99-year leasehold site is next to Tiong Ghee Temple and near Anchorpoint shopping centre. As it is one of the larger sites on offer, analysts said the bid reflected better market sentiment, and developers’ growing appetite for residential land.

Many developers are running low on land and have to demonstrate that they have longer- term corporate growth strategies.Being a prime city-fringe site, it is also likely to generate much interest and attract buyers easily. Competitive bidding are expected.

Based on a maximum permissible gross floor area of 954,328 sq ft, the bid translates to a price of $718 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio. Bids are expected to climb further, to between $830 psf and $950 psf.

It is noted though of unsold supply in Commonwealth Towers, Queens Peak and an upcoming project in Margaret Drive. The pricing will likely take a cue from Queens Peak, with an average of $1,640 psf, and Commonwealth Towers, at an average of $1,654 psf.

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Sime Darby Centre for sale

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.

Shophouses in the vogue again among investors

Investment in Singapore shophouses has stabilised and shows signs of picking up after taking a hit following the introduction of a loan curb in 2013. Total transaction value has been rising in the past two years even though the number of caveats lodged remained fairly steady at just over 100 a year.

Transaction value rose by about 7.6 per cent to $707.07 million last year, from $657.3 million in 2015. Demand for shophouses fell off a cliff in 2014, after the imposition of the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework at the end of June 2013.

Three adjoining 999-year tenure shophouses in Amoy Street in Tanjong Pagar were recently acquired by an institutional fund for $59.6 million, or about $2,500 per sq ft, based on the floor area. In another deal, a family office bought a shophouse at 54 Boat Quay for $12.9 million or about $2,985 psf on the floor area.

Office properties, seen as a proxy for shophouses, have faced challenging leasing environment as a deluge of new office buildings weighed on rents in recent years. The average rental yield for shophouses ranges from 2.5 to 3.5 per cent, depending on the tenure of the asset.

Frasers Tower received strong interest ahead of its completion

About 30 per cent of upcoming Frasers Tower, in the heart of the Central Business District, has been leased – or has received a leasing proposal. The relatively strong interest comes even though the 38-storey office building in Cecil Street is not due to be ready for tenants for more than a year.

The interest came from multi-sector conglomerates, legal services and technology firms, including the first signed lease with The Executive Centre, a serviced office provider, which will take up an entire floor covering 20,000 sq ft.

The supply pipeline favours Frasers Tower, as there are just a few new developments in the core CBD from mid-2017 until the end of 2020: Marina One, UIC Building and the redevelopment of the CPF Building. Frasers Tower has 663,000 sq ft in total net lettable area. An adjacent three-storey building will host food and beverage tenants.

 

Online Stores getting offline presence amidst slump

The falling rental rates provide a silver lining for online retailers amid the current retail slump.These retailers have a chance to venture offline and into shopping malls. Last month, for example, online furniture retailer HipVan opened its permanent 11,000 sq ft flagship store at The Cathay in Dhoby Ghaut.

Lifestyle retailer Naiise similarly opened its 8,500 sq ft flagship store in that mall last June. Other online retailers, such as Reebonz, Love Bonito and Ohvola, have opened short-term stores in Suntec City and Orchard Gateway, to catch shoppers who want to see, touch or try on a product before buying.
 The islandwide vacancy rate for retail space was 7.5 per cent at the end of last year, up from 4.5 per cent at the end of 2013, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data showed.
The Median rental rate per sq ft per month for the Orchard Road area is $9.82, the first time it fell below $10. The median rental rate for retail space in the third quarter of last year was the lowest on record. 

The median rental rate for retail space in the third quarter of last year was the lowest on record, falling to $9.82 per sq ft per month for the Orchard Road area – the first time it fell below $10, according to URA data.

Naiise has five other stores in malls such as Westgate and 112 Katong, which offer self-collection services for online orders. Its online plus offline strategy has paid off, with its six retail stores combined now generating more revenue than its online store.

 

HipVan co-founder Danny Tan, 33, said the retail slump has benefited his business, which now occupies the space formerly rented by sportswear brand Adidas. The store is seven times larger than HipVan’s previous pop-up space in Millenia Walk and Suntec City. It features more than 1,000 of HipVan’s bestsellers, including beds, dining tables and rugs. Its website attracts 200,000 to 300,000 views a month, while revenue has been growing by 12 per cent on average every month.

Meanwhile, high-end fashion retailer Reebonz, whose lease for its pop-up boutique in Suntec ends next year, is moving into its own eight-storey building in Tampines this month. The building will house a permanent showroom.

Good Take-up at Guoco Tower space

TECH and media companies are making their presence felt at Guoco Tower in Tanjong Pagar, accounting for 37 per cent of the space that has already been committed.

The premium Grade A office component of Tanjong Pagar Centre, a mixed-development project being built by the listed GuocoLand group, has 890,000 sq ft net lettable area of which 80 per cent or some 712,000 sq ft is either taken up or subject of advanced leasing discussions. Of this space, approximately 263,000 sq ft has been committed by tech and media companies, including Amadeus and OpenLink.

Earlier media reports also tipped Agoda, Dentsu Aegis Network, Palo Alto Networks, ING, Itochu Singapore, and SAS Singapore as heading for Guoco Tower. Dentsu Aegis is expected to be the biggest tenant with about 100,000 sq ft.

GuocoLand has also named as new tenants The Straits Trading Company, which will be moving out of 9 Battery Road; Danone, which is exiting Goldbell Towers along Scotts Road; shoemaker Asics, which will be leaving PWC Building; and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which is exiting three locations.

The offices, which received Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) last month, are on the lower 38 levels of the 64-storey tower, which is Singapore’s tallest building at 290 metres. Levels 39 and upwards of this tower comprise the 181-unit Wallich Residence. A second tower houses the 222-room Sofitel Singapore City Centre. Both of these components are expected to receive TOP between late this year and early 2017. The project also has a retail component, part of which has already received TOP.

Guoco Tower is counting on its prime location, flexible, efficient and scalable design, Tanjong Pagar Centre’s tightly integrated retail and lifestyle components, and of course, the prestige factor of being in Singapore’s tallest building as its selling points.

Most of the MNCs in Guoco Tower will be using it as their regional headquarters with average headcounts of 300 to 500 persons, coupled with relocations of many of their senior management staff from their other headquarters or regional offices to Singapore.

This would create a lot of demand for F&B, services, hotels and even housing in the area and catalyse Tanjong Pagar’s transformation. The gross effective monthly rents at Guoco Tower are estimated to be between S$8.50 and S$11.00 per square foot – comfortably above the average of S$7 to S$8 psf in the Tanjong Pagar office micromarket, and comparable to other premium Grade A developments in Marina Bay.

 

Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail on track

Announced in the middle of 2016, the highly-anticipated project in the coming decade between the neighbours Malaysia and Singapore are expected to be ready in 10 years’ time. Travellers can travel to KL from Singapore in just 90 mins by the High- Speed Rail (HSR).

The terminus in Singapore will be in Jurong East, while the one in Malaysia will be at Bandar Malaysia.  According to reports, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri are among the transit stops.

This will spell good news for tourists and the locals alike though it may affect coach businesses across the causeway. Developers and property owners of sites near to the stations will also benefit from the development.