Thursday, July 9, 2009

Frasers launches serviced apartments at Fusionopolis

FRASERS Hospitality launched its serviced apartment complex at Fusionopolis yesterday - its third property in Singapore and certainly not its last.

Fraser Place Fusionopolis, located on levels 17 to 19 of the Symbosis Tower of Fusionopolis @ one-north, has 50 units, all one-bedroom loft apartments ranging from 46 sq m to 99 sq m.

It has obtained commitments amounting to a 60 per cent occupancy rate. The first few guests, including a professor from the nearby business school Insead, have checked in.

Frasers Hospitality chief executive officer Choe Peng Sum told The Straits Times that occupancy at its two other properties here - Fraser Suites in River Valley and Fraser Place in Robertson Quay - stands at 90 per cent despite the global downturn.

However, it has had to cut rates and the completion of a few of its planned projects overseas has been delayed, added Mr Choe.

The effect of the global downturn kicked in around February but the drop in occupancy has been slight so far, just two or three percentage points, he said.

He attributed it to more expatriates seeking shorter stays or more flexibility in the light of the uncertainty.

The downturn has been kinder to the serviced apartment sector than hotels.

'We saw this during the Hong Kong handover. All the serviced apartments in Hong Kong were full and rates were very good,' said Mr Choe.

Singapore's hotel rates may have fallen by 35 per cent this year but serviced apartment rates are down by only 15 per cent, he said.

Overall, the serviced apartment sector here has an occupancy rate of about 75 to 80 per cent compared with 50 to 60 per cent for hotels.

Mr Choe said Singapore can still accommodate more branded serviced apartments and Frasers Hospitality is looking at opening more.

Elsewhere, occupancy levels remain healthy, he said. Its expansion plans, while still proceeding, have had to slow somewhat in certain areas. While the downturn has had an impact in some areas, others are experiencing construction delays.

The opening of a few projects has been moved to next year. These include a project in Dubai, which has been affected by a downturn-induced construction delay.

Frasers Hospitality will have 5,300 units in operation by the end of this year, and 8,000 units, including those in the pipeline, by the end of next year.

Source: Straits Times, 09 July 2009

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