Some 70 per cent of the 50 units at Havelock II that Guthrie GTS has sold since the project was soft launched in mid-July were picked up by buyers for their own use.
This is a significantly higher proportion compared with a share of 30-45 per cent for owner occupiers among buyers of strata commercial units in Guthrie’s ventures in recent years, such as Paya Lebar Square, The Adelphi near City Hall MRT Station and Burlington Square along Bencoolen Street.
In an interview with BT, Guthrie GTS director Michael Leong described the higher proportion of end users in Havelock II as a “healthy trend” reflecting the drop in speculative fervour.
The 50 units Guthrie has sold in Havelock II make up half of the 100 office and retail units released in the project, which will be the revamped 2HR building the group acquired in March 2013. In all, the project will have 245 units comprising 151 retail units and 94 office units.
Mr Leong acknowledged that the TDSR (total debt servicing ratio framework) has slowed sales; that said, he noted that “buyers now have a better grasp of this policy, enabling them to evaluate faster and accelerate purchasing decisions”.
To date, the group has sold 30 of the 50 retail units released and 20 of the 50 office units released. Office units sold have sizes ranging from 312 sq ft to 2,357 sq ft and have achieved an average price of S$2,228 psf, while retail units taken up are sized 150-1,335 sq ft and have fetched an average of S$4,657 psf.
“Although the building is in a slightly fringe part of the CBD, it is attractively located between two MRT stations – Clarke Quay and Chinatown stations,” said Mr Leong.
The project stands on a site with a balance lease term of about 68 years. Guthrie paid S$282.88 million for the eight-storey building last year and will invest a further S$40 million revamping it. However, the site’s lease will not be topped up.
Most of the building’s tenants have already moved out with the last remaining occupiers slated to exit by end-January 2015. Renovations began a month ago and are slated for completion by H1 2016.
Among other things, a new facade will adorn the building. Its carpark entrance/exit will be relocated, and two levels in the building will be converted to retail use.
As a result, the revamped building will have four floors of retail space (Basement 1 to Level 3). Above that will be five levels of offices. About 100 car park lots will be housed in Basement 2.
The existing office-retail mix of 80:20 will be changed to 45:55. Havelock II will have 82,408 sq ft of retail space and 64,583 sq ft of offices.
Guthrie has also strategically decided to price 70 per cent of the project’s total 245 units within a sweet spot of up to S$2 million each because that is the marketable and affordable range, said Mr Leong.
Close to half the 245 units cost up to S$1.5 million each. Sizes of retail units in the project range from 140 sq ft (for an F&B kiosk) to 7,395 sq ft (for the food court unit). There is also a 6,620 sq ft supermarket unit.
All retail units will be provided with water points and discharge outlets. Selected units will be provided with independent air-conditioning systems, which will allow occupiers greater flexibility in their operating hours.
All the office units too will be provided with water points and discharge outlets in addition to independent own air-con systems. Selected office units will have ensuite toilets.
Guthrie has appointed CBRE to market Havelock II’s office units, and SLP International, the retail units.