Category Archives: West Coast/Pasir Panjang

District 5

Recent Collective Sales in Feb 2018

1. City Towers (SGD $401.9M). District 10

The freehold condominium development in District 10 was sold for $401.9M in early Feb 2018. Each unit’s owner was to receive between $2.78M – 11.5M. The project consists of 77 units and sold 13% above reserve price. The rate was $1,847 psf ppr (including a $3.5M development charge). The site has a land area of about 104,531 sq ft (with a plot ratio of 2.1), and can be redeveloped to 24 storeys of 190 new units (average size of 1098 sqft). JAPURA Development, linked to Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong empire, is the party that clinched City Towers.

2. Pearl Bank (SGD $728M), Outram Park Vicinity

The iconic Pearl Bank Apartments was recently sold to Capitaland at $728M in mid Feb 2018. The price matches the reserve price of the owners, which translates to $1psf. ,515 psf ppr after factoring a $201.4M premium for a lease top-up to a fresh 99-year lease. The site has a land size of 82,376 sqft of existing plot ratio of 7.45. There are plans to redevelop the site into a 800-unit condo project of total GFA of 613,530 sqft. Break even prices are expected to be $2,000-2,250 psf. The project is located near to the Outram Park MRT interchange and Chinatown, and future units are likely priced to be between $2,400 – $2,600 psf.

3. Brookvale Park (SGD $530M), Sunset Way

Brookvale Park, a 160-unit development in Sunset Way, has been sold to Hoi Hup Sunway, a joint venture between Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments, for $530 million. The sprawling 999-year leasehold land is in a central yet lush setting. The sale price reflects a land rate of about $932 per sq ft per plot ratio, after factoring in an estimated development charge of about $26 million. Each owner would expect to receive gross sales proceeds of between $2.5 million and $4.4 million per unit. The site is a short drive away from Holland Village and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and near reputable tertiary and international education institutions such as Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, National University of Singapore, Singapore University of Social Sciences and Canadian International School.

4. Riviera Point (SGD $72M), River Valley area

Riviera Point in Kim Yam Road was sold to Macly Group, a Singapore property developer in Mid Feb for $72M. Riviera Point’s site area stands at 14,579 sq ft. The use of the land has been zoned as “residential” with a plot ratio of 2.8 and a height control of 36 storeys. The verified existing gross floor area is about 49,265 sq ft, which translates to a plot ratio of 3.379.

5. Cairnhill Mansion (SGD $362M), Cairnhill Road at District 9

The development in Cairnhill Road was sold to Singapore-listed property developer Low Keng Huat for SGD $362M. Cairnhill Mansions, an 18-storey block comprising 61 apartments, sits on a land area of about 43,103 sq ft. The price tag works out to $2,311 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr).




CFE calls for government to review land use and planning guidelines

The Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) calls for greater land-use flexibility by allowing complementary activities to be located near each other–  value chains and industries can be integrated and synergies enabled among developments in a precinct.

Given the blurring line between services and manufacturing, the CFE also proposed that flexibility of land use be allowed in industrial areas as this will open the way for businesses of different sectors and functions to co-locate, find synergies and catalyse innovation.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is working with state industrial landlord JTC and the Economic Development Board (EDB) under Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Industry players say Singapore may need to create more zoning categories or expand existing definitions of use for industrial space.

Another planning guideline – that of the “60-40 rule”, which requires at least 60 per cent of gross space in a building or strata unit to be used for industrial activities, with at most 40 per cent left for ancillary purposes – is another restrictive policy that needs review.

The government has, in the past, rolled out “white” sites and business park white zones in the Master Plan to offer developers some autonomy in deciding the most appropriate mix of uses for each site. However, it has remained prescriptive in listing permissible uses and planning specifications for these sites.

The US practises what is called “performance zoning”, under which land development and use are circumscribed by performance standards; for example, these standards can limit the intensity of development by stipulating the maximum level of noise or strain on the transportation system.


All HDB industrial properties to JTC by 2018

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.


New Future-abled CBD in Jurong

SINGAPORE’S second central business (CBD) district, the Jurong Lake District (JLD), will feature adaptable spaces for the future economy, given that business cycles will be shorter, and that businesses will have to adopt rapidly emerging technologies and more flexible business models. Such occupiers may find rentals of office space too high and the set-up too restrictive for creative juices to flow.

As Singapore’s second central business district, the JLD will consist of a core area around the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) terminus. The area will comprise high-quality office spaces with mixed uses and be surrounded by clusters of business parks that provide flexible and adaptable work spaces for a good mix of complementary businesses and services of varying sizes. Examples include research and development facilities, educational and training institutes, small and mid-sized firms, business incubators and investment firms.

In launching its request for proposal (RFP) and inviting multi-disciplinary teams to develop master plan proposals for the JLD, the URA also unveiled a third new precinct in the district. Called Lakeside Gateway, this precinct has been envisioned as a mixed-use business precinct and home to the HSR terminus, which will anchor the JLD as “a district of the future” and Singapore’s second CBD.

A large part of the 112-hectare precinct is occupied by the Jurong Country Club, which has been acquired by the government. The JLD’s two other precincts unveiled earlier are the commercial hub of Jurong Gateway and the leisure precinct of Lakeside. In the longer term, Lakeside Gateway could be integrated with the surrounding areas such as the International Business Park, Teban Gardens and Pandan Gardens.

A key guiding goal in the master planning of the JLD is to achieve a more aggressive public transport mode share – one that is higher than the national target, which is 75 per cent by 2030. It will be distinguished by its high connectivity, accessibility and environmentally-friendly features, where smart and green mobility options are the choice modes of commute.

From among the multi-disciplinary teams participating in the RFP, the URA will shortlist up to five teams, which will develop their Concept Master Plans for JLD. When this is done, they will each receive an honorarium of S$200,000.

The team with the best Concept Master Plan will be appointed in February 2017, and work with the URA and partner agencies to draw up the Draft Master Plan for the JLD. There will be an exhibition of the Draft Master Plan around the third quarter of next year, during which the public will be invited to give feedback. After that, the appointed team will work with the URA to refine the plans. When this has been done, the team will be awarded S$2 million.


Property news spotlight

In today’s papers, some of the articles caught my eye. One is that of property stocks which were considered undervalued. The stocked mentioned includes Reits and real estate developers. These stocks in fact take up 2/3 of the undervalued stocks in Singapore. Some investment experts recommended to be selective in the current uncertain market moods, to choose selected offshore focused S-Reits (eg FCT, Keppel DC Reit and A-Reit) and developers (eg WingTai and UOL).  Other under valued property stocks (above $1B capitalisation) mentioned include OUE, Yanlord, Perennial, Ho Bee Land, Hongkong Land, Wheelock, United Engineers, Guocoland and others. It could be a opportunity to buy these stocks at a low but do note the risks involved.  It could also be a good chance to note the properties under these companies as one may be able to get a better bargain than usual.

On the real property aspect, Shunfu Ville at Bishan is going for another shot at the lull collective market, after failing to find a buyer at last year’s tender. The minimum price according to JLL is $688 m or $750psf ppr. Each owner could potentially bag $1.92m if the deal goes through. The intention to put back into the market may be boosted by the recent sale at Siglap GLS site which was sold at $624.18m.

Normanton Parka also did not attract any buyers despite some interest from 2 developers.  The reserve price is $840m or $605 psf ppr for the leasehold property site at Kent Ridge Park.

At Vivocity near Sentosa/Keppel area, MCT is embarking an asset enhancement initiative to strengthen its F&B offerings in a bid to further boost the mall’s appeal. MCT’s other assets includes Harbourfront, PSA building and Mapletree Anson. The occupancy rate for its overall portfolio is 98.4%.

Apple seen taking up half the space at Fusionopolis Two tower

Singapore – TECH giant Apple, which has just announced an analysts-beating fourth-quarter profit of US$11.1 billion, is in expansion mode in Singapore. In addition to reports of plans for its first Singapore store at Knightsbridge mall, it is said to be leasing a chunk of business park space at Innovis in Fusionopolis Two in the one-north area.

According to sources, it has leased about 215,000 square feet at the 18-storey Innovis, one of the three blocks in the recently opened Fusionopolis Two project developed by JTC Corporation.

With Apple occupying about half the space in the tower, the 18-storey Innovis will be fully let.

While the space that the tech giant has signed up for is predominantly zoned for business park use, there is a small office space component as well. The company, which is expected to use the new space primarily for research and development, is understood to have wanted even more space at Innovis but had to contend with what was available. Others who signed up earlier at the same tower include Japanese IT group NEC, private equity firm Credence Partners and Sodexo. The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) also occupies some floors at Innovis.

Fusionopolis Two has a total gross floor area of 103,635 square metres (1.12 million sq ft) spread across the three towers – Innovis, Kinesis and Synthesis. Four research institutes under A*Star occupy the whole of Synthesis as well as some floors in Kinesis and Innovis.

Market watchers say that Apple’s presence in Innovis will boost Fusionopolis’s standing as an innovation hub and create buzz for the one-north locale in general. Already, there is talk that owners of some of the neighbouring developments are starting to see a pick-up in enquiries from potential tech tenants.

A spokeswoman for JTC declined to confirm if Apple is a tenant at Innovis. Attempts to reach Apple on the matter were unsuccessful.

Apple’s move into Innovis is part of its expansion in Singapore. Its operations are currently based in two neighbouring buildings in Ang Mo Kio – one of which is a built-to-suit facility at 7 Ang Mo Kio Street 64 on a 30-year government lease expiring next year with an option for renewal. A lease renewal is likely to entail redevelopment as the maximum gross floor area has not yet been tapped.

Apple is believed to be holding discussions with the authorities on the property. Among the functions located in the facility are research and development, and sales and marketing. To cope with its growing business activities in Singapore, which is also a regional headquarters for some functions, Apple expanded to the next-door UE BizHub Central in 2012, where it has leased about 50,000 sq ft spanning a couple of floors in one wing of the development. Apple Campus is located within this space.

Earlier this year, Apple was reported to have inked a lease for around 35,000 sq ft of office space on levels 29 and 30 at CapitaGreen along Market Street in the CBD to house its sales and marketing staff – with options to lease 60,000 sq ft more space on three adjoining floors in the same building.

Sources say that the option for the additional space has lapsed, with speculation mounting whether Apple could give up even the two floors for which it has signed a lease.

That said, a leasing agent argued that doing so would require Apple to find replacement tenants acceptable to the landlord in addition to compensating it for any rental shortfall if the new tenants pay a lower rental rate than that contracted to Apple. “Financially, it would make more sense for Apple to just occupy the two floors at CapitaGreen itself, given that it is expanding like crazy.”

Apple’s lease at CapitaGreen was reported to have been signed late last year probably at around S$11-12 per square foot monthly rent.

Based on information on JTC’s website, the monthly rents listed for Fusionopolis Two translate to S$4.83 psf for business park space and S$5.57 psf for office space – although market watchers expect big tenants to enjoy a discount on these rates.

Apple’s 215,000 sq ft lease at Innovis is one of the biggest leasing transactions for business space in Singapore this year following Google’s lease for around 280,000 sq ft of business park space at Mapletree Business City II; located in the Pasir Panjang Road/Alexandra Terrace area, the development is slated to receive temporary occupation permit by June next year.

Meanwhile, fellow IT giant Microsoft, which was earlier reported to be mulling a move to MBC II, has decided to stay put at One Marina Boulevard in the CBD. The group is expected to renew its lease in the building, where it occupies slightly over 100,000 sq ft.

Creating opportunities for scientists to have a “big bang”

It was a chance meeting that led Dr Loh Xian Jun to make progress on a biomaterials project he was working on.

He developed a new drug-delivery system but was trying to figure out which drug would be best suited for his project.

The answer came unexpectedly at a symposium last year, when he was introduced to experts at the Singapore Immunology Network, which led to a joint project on the delivery of a dengue vaccine.

“You need a lot of collaboration in the area of biological experiments. The project is still ongoing and it shows how important this accidental spontaneous discussion is, as it can actually lead to new leads,” said Dr Loh, a senior scientist at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (Imre).

This spontaneous collaboration is what the chairman of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Mr Lim Chuan Poh, is hoping for with the opening of the new Fusionopolis Two building yesterday.

The latest $450 million addition to the research and development hub at Buona Vista is made up of three new towers – named Synthesis, Innovis and Kinesis – which will house four A*Star research institutes. They are Imre, the Data Storage Institute, the Institute of Microelectronics and the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology.

With the new building, 16 of A*Star’s 18 science and engineering research institutes will be housed in one location in both the Fusionopolis and the nearby Biopolis campuses at one-north, a vision which has been 14 years in the making.

More than 35,000 people currently work in one-north, in 250 companies, research institutes, global and corporate universities, and public agencies.

The move to house its major talent in one area is a necessity, given that Singapore has limited land resources, said Mr Lim.

But it will also create new ways for scientists to collaborate and develop solutions that would not otherwise be possible.

By being close to one another, scientists of different disciplines will “collide” or discuss their projects, which could then yield new possibilities.

“The more we create and facilitate their ability to collide, the more we will see their ideas come together and fuse and open up new spaces for discovery and for innovation,” said Mr Lim.

“The constraint of Singapore, our physical smallness that obliged us to intensify the co-location of people, has turned out to be a huge advantage when it comes to research and innovation.”

A*Star’s efforts have also paid off for the economy, said Mr Lim.

From April 2011 to June 2015, A*Star undertook about 7,500 industry projects which sparked off more than $1.13 billion in industry R&D investments in Singapore.

Mr Lim was also bullish on the prospects of the industry.

There are many other areas of growth for the R&D industry here, including cell therapy, data systems, advanced manufacturing and “how deep understanding of biology is going to shape engineering”.

The possibilities “are just infinite”, said Mr Lim.

JTC, the developer of one-north, said Fusionopolis Two will strengthen the R&D hub’s position as a destination for research, innovation and enterprise.

It will “generate more knowledge-based and value-creating jobs for Singaporeans in the future”, said JTC chief executive officer Png Cheong Boon, .

Normanton Park up for collective sale

The lacklustre property market enjoyed a shot of adrenaline yesterday with news that the sprawling Normanton Park condominium is up for a collective sale with an asking price of around $840 million.

The ambitious move by the owners of the 38-year-old estate near Kent Ridge Park seems to fly in the face of prevailing market trends, which all point to slowing sales.

Only 341 new private homes were sold last month, a striking fall of 33.5 per cent from the 513 units moved in August, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday.

The 488-unit Normanton Park would be the biggest collective sale in eight years if it goes through, but experts are sceptical.

The 99-year leasehold estate is on a sprawling 660,000 sq ft site with a reserve price said to be in the region of $840 million. A sale at that level would make it the largest collective deal since Farrer Court was sold at $1.3 billion and Leedon Heights at $835 million in 2007.

Marketing agent Mount Everest Properties said a developer would have to stump up an additional $300 million or so to top up the lease, which has 61 years to run, and account for the development charge. Factoring in these costs, the overall price would work out to about $820 per square foot per plot ratio, as the site has a plot ratio of 2.1. Each owner could stand to pocket $1.6 million to $1.7 million on average.

There has been only one large collective sale this year, when SIN Capital Group bought Thong Sia Building, along Bideford Road, for $380 million in July.

Amber Park, Spring Grove and Riviera Point are among the many that tried their luck in recent years but failed to find a buyer.

The tender for the Normanton Park sale closes on Jan 19.

Sungei Pandan waterfront site may yield 600 homes

A residential site at West Coast Vale was put on the market yesterday with price expectations of up to about $370 million.

The 18,908 sq m plot, which is on the confirmed list of the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme, is located on the Sungei Pandan waterfront.

Its maximum gross floor area of 52,945 sq m could yield about 595 residential units.

Analysts said there would be keen interest in the 99-year leasehold site.

“While there has been a fall in the supply of land available for residential development, the same number of developers are still there.”

Market expert noted that developers would be interested because of the amenities in the area, which will include the upcoming high-speed rail terminal in Jurong East.

“The area also has the new Science Centre, and the Westgate and Jem shopping malls,” he said.

Recent developments there have fared quite well.

“Nine months ago, Waterfront @ Faber was launched. It has 210 units, with 135 already sold. That’s more than 60 per cent, which is quite good.”

Market analyst said: “Surrounding projects include The Infiniti and Hundred Trees, many of which have seen strong end-user demand, and have been fully sold.

“Many of the projects were launched in 2006 and 2007.”

Market analyst expects about 10 bidders for the West Coast Vale site, with offers exceeding $600 per sq ft (psf).

Market expert predicts five to eight bidders, offering $400 to $500 psf, made up mostly of “cash-rich listed developers who need to have land in the pipeline for future developments”.

Market analyst expects the bid price at $600 to $650 psf, noting that there could be higher building costs as the site is near water.

“The negative is possibly the industrial estates to the west of the area. However, that is rather minor as they are fast-changing.”

The tender closes at noon on Aug 4, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday.

Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre upgrading

The 32-year-old Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre is undergoing improvement works, and sellers there are hopeful that a refurbished centre will draw the crowds back.

Some areas in the centre were hoarded up when The Straits Times visited earlier this month.

According to the signs put up, a wider carpark driveway will be completed by the end of this month, and a linkway between Blocks 13 and 14 will be built by end-September. The centre remains open during this period.

HDB called for an expression of interest last month for a consultant to carry out further improvement works by mid-2017, such as building more covered walkways and roof extensions, upgrading common toilets and repainting the facade of the centre.

The cost of the renovations is not available as the proposals are not finalised.

Mr Tay Khiam Back, chairman of the centre’s association, said stallholders will also benefit from new coldrooms currently under construction.

“The previous system was designed more than 30 years ago and is getting old,” he said.

Sellers and shoppers said the renovations works are a long time coming.

The centre, made up of 26 blocks, opened in 1983 to centralise the distribution of vegetables, fruits and dried goods.

Sellers said that the number of walk-in customers has dwindled over the years as people preferred to shop for groceries in the comfort of supermarkets instead of the non-air-conditioned centre.

Madam Sim Cho Hwang, the 62-year-old boss of Shen Trading and Wholesale, a dried goods store in the centre, said: “It is about time they did something about the carpark. It has been the same size since 1983, and there are cracks in the carpark grounds.”

With perspiration running down her face, she added: “I hope they make the roof higher, so there is better ventilation. It is very hot in here.”

Madam Noor Sinah Abdul Gani, who shops at the centre once a week, said she is looking forward to the covered walkways and wider carpark driveway.

The 58-year-old, who sells spices at a Jurong East market, said: “The centre is quite dirty and disorganised now, and the carpark is small and congested.”