Singapore Briefs

Development charges cut again
More than half (68 out of 118) the commercial use group will see development charges (DC) fall following the revision by the Ministry of National Development. Overall, the commercial group DC rate has dropped an average of 3.9% this round (Sept 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010) compared with the average decrease of 4.4% in March 2009. The largest decrease of 13% was mainly in the core CBD areas of Raffles Place, Marina Bay, Marina Centre and Shenton Way.

Colliers says the downward revision in DC rates was expected in view of the weak prime Grade A office sector, which saw rents tumble by 26% in 2Q2009. It is heartening, notes Colliers, that the government has not been unduly influenced by the recent residential buying fever. DC rates have been adjusted downwards for several enclaves — by as much as 16.7% for Sentosa Cove and 15.8% for the Newton area. DC charges for hotel sites will fall by an average of 4.3% compared with the previous six months when charges dropped an average of 9.6%.

HDB launches Punggol Spectra
HDB is launching Punggol Spectra — 1,142 units with two to four bedrooms — following the recent strong interest in another build-to-order (BTO) project, Punggol Residences. The latest offering is along Punggol Central, within walking distance of Oasis LRT station and the future Punggol Town Centre. The new units are priced between S$89,000 (RM218,000) and S$293,000, affordable for first-time flat buyers, says HDB. Based on the income of potential purchasers in 1H2009, first-time buyers will only need to use 20% to 26% of their monthly household income for housing loan commitments at the new development. HDB has offered 4,800 flats under the BTO and other sales exercises this year. Future BTO projects will be in Punggol, Seng-kang and Sembawang.

Merchant Square for sale
CB Richard Ellis is selling prime office building Merchant Square (top) by expression of interest. Completed in 1996, Merchant Square is a 4-storey office tower with two blocks of shophouses located close to the junction of Merchant Road and Clemenceau Avenue. There is a total net lettable area (NLA) of 50,262 sq ft with about 27,600 sq ft of land area and two levels of basement carpark (76 lots). The guide price is said to be S$48 million, which works out to S$955 psf. The deadline for expressions of interest is 3pm on Oct 6.

Koh Bros wins S$59 million contract
Construction and specialist engineering group Koh Brothers has won a S$58.9 million contract from the HDB for the second phase of the Punggol Waterway in Punggol Town. The group in January clinched a S$144.6 million contract from HDB for part one of the project. Work is expected to start this month and be completed by end-2010. With the contract, Koh Brothers has a total order book of more than S$579 million.

Joo Chiat Road conserved building up for sale
Credo Real Estate is selling by tender a conserved building (bottom) in Joo Chiat Road approved for use as a hotel. The property owner — a local investment company — is seeking offers of S$20 million to S$22 million. The hotel has a 3-storey front section with a 4-storey rear extension. There are 68 guest rooms and a pub, both leased by operators for a total gross annual rental revenue of about S$1 million. The 99-year leasehold site (from June 1995) is 7,629 sq ft. The total gross floor area is 22,925 sq ft. The tender closes on Oct 6 at 2.30pm.

New Tiffany to open at Marina Bay Sands Shoppes
Tiffany & Co will open its fourth company-operated store in Singapore in 2Q2010. The 2,750 sq ft outlet will be at Marina Bay Sands Shoppes, a new retail centre for luxury shopping. It will feature architectural details reminiscent of Tiffany’s famous New York store and custom furnishings.

Laguna Park sale could break S$1 billion barrier
The collective sale of Laguna Park could be Singapore’s second billion-dollar en-bloc deal, says selling agent Credo Real Estate. The largest collective sale price so far is S$1.3 billion for the 618-unit Farrer Court in June 2007. More than 80% of the owners of the 528-unit Laguna Park in Marine Parade have signed the collective sale agreement at a reserve price of S$1.2 billion. At this price, unit owners would each receive S$2.1 million to S$2.3 million, with penthouses getting S$3.5 million to S$4.1 million. Laguna Park has a land area of 677,493 sq ft and a gross plot ratio of 2.8, with a building height of 36 storeys. A developer could build around 1.9 million sq ft of gross floor area, or 1,500 apartments averaging 1,200 sq ft. A unique attribute of the site is its 300m unobstructed sea frontage. The asking price of S$1.2 billion for the site including an estimated S$400 million payable to the state for the increase in intensity and topping-up of the lease term to 99 years works out to a land rate of S$844 psf ppr. The tender closes at 3pm on Oct 13.

New Bridge Road hotel site attracts S$67.7 million bid
Leedon Investments has submitted the highest bid at S$67.7 million (S$401 psf ppr) for the 99-year leasehold site at New Bridge Road. Six bids were received. Leedon Investments’ offer was 50% higher than the lowest bid of S$45 million (S$267 psf ppr) and 54% higher than the trigger price of S$43.9 million. The site has a maximum gross floor area of 168,855 sq ft and an estimated 335 rooms can be developed. CB Richard Ellis says the strong response signals hoteliers believe in the fundamental strength of Singapore as a tourist destination and its long-term ability to attract tourists. — The Edge Singapore

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 772, Sep 14-20, 2009.

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