Saturday, September 5, 2009

CapLand to unveil 2 more home launches

One is on the former Gillman Heights site; the other is in Cairnhill.

SINGAPORE'S largest property developer CapitaLand is set to roll out two more residential launches this year - the 1,040-unit The Interlace on the site of the former Gillman Heights, and a 165-apartment luxury project in Cairnhill Road on the site of the former Char Yong Gardens.

The company yesterday unveiled the design for the The Interlace, which it is developing with Hotel Properties Ltd. The project will cost about $1.4 billion all up, including the $548 million - or $363 per sq ft of potential gross floor area - paid for Gillman Heights in 2007

Prices could start from about $700,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, CapitaLand said. The project will be launched next month.

The Interlace was designed by Ole Scheeren, a partner at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture - the firm behind the design of the distinct 54-storey China Central Television Station headquarters in Beijing. For The Interlace, Mr Scheeren wanted to break away from the standard kind of residential project in Singapore comprising a cluster of isolated, vertical towers.

Instead, the design for The Interlace explores a new take on tropical living with an expansive and interconnected network of communal spaces. Thirty-one apartment blocks, each six stories tall, will be stacked in a hexagonal arrangement to form eight large-scale courtyards. The interlocking blocks will resemble a 'vertical village' with cascading sky gardens and private and public roof terraces.

'This is a great opportunity to create and build a residential destination at the Gillman Heights site that will challenge the present architectural definition of the living space,' said Patricia Chia, chief executive of CapitaLand Residential Singapore.

The Interlace will offer a variety of homes, from two and three-bedroom units to penthouses, when sales start in October. CapitaLand declined to say how the apartments will be priced in psf terms, but said that the construction cost for The Interlace will be around $250-$270 psf.

It added that it will not be 'greedy' when it comes to the profit margin it is looking for and that homes will be 'affordable'. Analysts have previously estimated a breakeven cost of around $750 psf for the site, with an average selling price of $900 psf.

The next launch for CapitaLand is the 165-unit freehold condominium at the former Char Yong Gardens, which will be rolled out before the end of this year. The project, designed by Kerry Hill Architects, will be a luxury development, said CapitaLand chief executive Liew Mun Leong.

CapitaLand bought Char Yong Gardens for $1,788 psf of potential gross floor area, including development charges payable to the state, at the height of the property boom in 2007.

More launches are planned for 2010, including one at Farrer Road on the former Farrer Court site. CapitaLand forked out a record $1.3 billion for that site in a collective sale in 2007.

However, the en bloc market is unlikely to rebound to such levels again in the near future, Mr Liew said. The Laguna Park development on the East Coast is currently being offered for $1.2 billion, which would be the second-highest price ever for such a transaction.

Mr Liew said: 'Given the cost of the land, given the construction cost and given the demand, it is too early for developers to confidently say the world economy has recovered and there will be buyers who can afford the price.'

He also said that a 5 to 15 per cent increase in private home prices here would be 'reasonable' given pent-up demand and the low interest rates. '(But) if it jumps 30 per cent, then I will be a little bit concerned about whether it is sensible,' he added.

Private home sales in Singapore jumped 52 per cent month-on-month in July to 2,767 units. A record 1,825 units were sold in June - but that number was easily surpassed just a month later. And prices are beginning to edge up. New projects released in recent weeks have been priced higher than in early 2009.

Source: Business Times, 5 Sep 2009

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