City&Country: Offshore-- FEO rolls out ‘ultra luxury’ brand of residences

Far East Organization (FEO), Singapore’s largest privately held developer, has restarted the marketing and selling of its “ultra-luxury” residential projects under the newly introduced brand name Inessence. The collection will initially comprise four bespoke boutique developments in the Orchard area: Boulevard Vue, Alba, [email protected] Boulevard and The Scotts Tower.

The hallmark of the Inessence collection is that, unlike most projects that come with standardised unit layouts, its residences will be sold on a “white plan” basis that allows buyers the flexibility to customise their own living space, to a certain extent. A dedicated design team will also be available to help buyers determine the size and layout of the rooms within their apartments, the developer said in a recent statement.

“It requires a new mindset to rethink and innovate on established norms,” says FEO executive director Chia Boon Kuah. “We are launching Inessence now, as we are able to deliver what the Inessence buyer wants and needs. This is an entirely new product that will fulfill the highest standards of privacy, comfort and elegant luxury.”

What’s more, the residences will also come with features not commonly found in other projects, for instance, a custom-built security system that can automatically differentiate between guests and residents, as well as access to a dedicated concierge team to serve residents’ needs.

The developer, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, believes the launch of Inessence is timely, as the wealthy from Asia-Pacific, particularly from China and India, are flocking to Singapore, resulting in the city-state now being considered as having the highest concentration of high-net-worth individuals in the world.

“With the emergence of the two integrated resorts, the rejuvenation of Orchard Road and the New Downtown at Marina Bay taking shape, a cosmopolitan Singapore is emerging to take its place among the list of global cities,” added Chia.

The latest project to be released in the Inessence portfolio is [email protected] Boulevard, a 33-unit luxury development designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, in what is his first residential project in 40 years. Unit sizes will be spacious, with 27 three+1 bedroom units ranging in size from 1,744 to 3,767 sq ft; 12 three-bedroom lofts of 3,100 sq ft each; and a 4+1 bedroom penthouse measuring 9,419 sq ft.

FEO had started private previews of [email protected] Boulevard in June, with prices starting from S$3,900 psf (about RM9,029 psf).

altAcross the street from [email protected] Boulevard is the 28-unit Boulevard Vue, where units were first sold in 2H2007. The highest price achieved — in fact, a record for luxury apartments in terms of quantum price — was for an 8,051 sq ft junior penthouse that went to an Indonesian buyer for S$33.4 million (S$4,150 psf). The most recent transaction was for a sixth-floor typical unit of 4,456 sq ft that sold for S$13.78 million (S$3,092 psf), according to a caveat lodged with URA in June. According to FEO, nine units have been sold thus far. Current prices will start from S$3,700 psf.

While [email protected] Boulevard will be completed only in 2015, Boulevard Vue, where construction is already under way, is expected to achieve temporary occupation permit (TOP) by 2013. According to Nomura, prices achieved at Boulevard Vue are comparable with transactions inked during the 2H2007 market peak for units at SC Global Developments’ The Marq at Paterson Hill, at well above S$4,000 psf. There, two units even crossed the S$5,000 psf threshold — one at S$5,100 psf and the other at S$5,262 psf, according to two caveats lodged with URA in September 2007.

Next door to [email protected] Boulevard is Wheelock Properties’ newly completed 30-unit Orchard View, where seven units have been sold at private previews at prices averaging S$3,100 psf.

Another development in FEO’s portfolio is Alba at Cairnhill Rise. eighteen of 50 units in the upscale project have been sold since it was launched last September. The freehold project comprises 48 residences ranging from 1,862 to 2,250 sq ft, one 6,372 sq ft penthouse and a 7,599 sq ft townhouse, and is expected to receive its TOP in 2014. According to URA data, the most recent transaction there was in April, at S$2,391 sq ft. From last October to April, prices ranged between S$2,068 and S$2,531 psf.

The pricing of Alba will start from S$2,900 psf, which is in line with recent launches in the Cairnhill area. For instance, at The Laurels on Cairnhill Road, 181 units of a total of 229 have been sold at a median price of S$3,046 psf as at end-March.

FEO is pitching Inessence as residences located in “the country’s most sought-after addresses”. The bespoke projects also bear the names of renowned architects: [email protected] Boulevard designed by Maki; Boulevard Vue by another famous Japanese name in design, Takashi Sugimoto of Super Potato; and Alba designed by American architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica, which also designed FEO’s Orchard Scotts project nearby on Anthony Road.

FEO’s fourth project, Scotts Tower, which originally bore the design of Ole Scheeren, former OMA partner, will now bear the hallmark of Dutch architect, Ben van Berkel, founder of Amsterdam-based UNStudio, a network of specialists in architecture, urban development and infrastructure. The project has yet to be launched. — The Edge Singapore

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 814, July 12-18, 2010

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