Thursday, March 3, 2011

Published November 17, 2010
GuocoLand aims for the sky with 78-storey homes
It submits highest of 6 bids for site above Tanjong Pagar MRT Station, plans $3 billion mixed-development project
MALAYSIAN tycoon Quek Leng Chan's GuocoLand is planning to build Singapore's tallest residences, up to 78 storeys high, within a $3 billion mixed-development project on a site above Tanjong Pagar MRT Station.
The $3 billion development cost includes the $1.708 billion or $1,006 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) that Singapore-listed GuocoLand will pay for the 99-year leasehold plot. It placed the highest of six bids for the 'white' site, which was offered at a state tender which closed yesterday.
GuocoLand is required to allocate at least 60 per cent of the maximum 1.7 million sq ft gross floor area (GFA) to offices and another 10 per cent for hotel use, under the rules for the site set by Urban Redevelopment Authority.
GuocoLand Singapore managing director Trina Loh says that with a maximum height of 280 metres above mean sea level the proposed development will join Republic Plaza, UOB Plaza and OUB Centre in Raffles Place as Singapore's tallest buildings.
'Within the Tanjong Pagar area, it will be the tallest project and we'll also offer the tallest residences in the whole of Singapore,' Mrs Loh added.
The proposed development will rank alongside Republic Plaza, UOB Plaza and OUB Centre in Raffles Place as one of the tallest buildings in Singapore, all of which are 280 metres above mean sea level.
The group plans to develop two towers, possibly with a mix of uses. In addition to offices, a hotel and apartments, there will also be ground-floor retail space. 'What makes this site very exciting is that it can be a truly, fully-integrated development above the MRT Station, plus the height of the project.
'And as the winner of two BCA Green Mark Platinum awards, we'll ensure this latest proposed development will also be eco friendly,' she added.
GuocoLand bid 11.8 per cent or about $180 million more than its closest rival. The partnership comprising Keppel Land, Hongkong Land and Cheung Kong Holdings which is developing the Marina Bay Financial Centre was the second highest bidder at yesterday's tender. It offered about $1.53 billion or $900 psf ppr.
Frasers Centrepoint teamed up with Far East Organization and Japan's Sekisui House to emerge as the third highest bidder, at around $1.43 billion or $844 psf ppr. The other bidders were CapitaLand group ($777 psf ppr), Malaysia's IOI Properties Berhad ($730 psf ppr) and Lippo-unit Overseas Union Enterprise ($362 psf ppr).
In addition to these six offers, URA received a submission from a tenderer that was disqualified - Wee Jong Dit.
A person bearing the same name received the Public Service Medal at the 2002 National Day Awards. He is understood to be a former banker (involved in forex dealing).
Typically, a bidder at a state land tender would be disqualified if he does not fulfil tender conditions, the most important of which is that the submission must be accompanied by a tender deposit (of at least 5 per cent of the bid price).
GuocoLand has been on the lookout for a mega development site in Singapore for years. It was unsuccessful in its bids for the plots that have since been developed into Marina Bay Financial Centre site and Ion Orchard/Or- chard Residences.
BT understands that some overseas parties are keen on teaming up with GuocoLand for the proposed Tanjong Pagar project.
The group's bid was above market expectations; property consultants polled in late July when the site was launched had forecast bids of up to $1.4 billion.
However, Cushman & Wakefield Singapore vice-chairman Donald Han said yesterday that GuocoLand's bid was 'still workable'. 'Singapore Grade A office rents have been recovering nicely and investors' appetite in completed office buildings has also returned. GuocoLand may sell the Tanjong Pagar project's office portion after completion. The group has experience in developing residential and office properties. And its sister company, Thistle Hotels of UK, may get an entry to manage a Singapore hotel,' he added.
CBRE Research executive director Li Hiaw Ho said: 'In order to obtain this top bid of $1,006 psf ppr, the gross development value for the 60 per cent office component is estimated at $2,200-2,300 psf.
'The mandatory 10 per cent of GFA for hotel use would translate into 330-350 rooms with each room estimated at $800,000-900,000. Based on the top bid, condo units at this mega development could possibly transact at $2,400-2,500 psf when ready for launch.

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