Friday, January 29, 2010

Mohd Sultan Rd office site up for sale

THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will be launching a transitional office site at Mohamed Sultan Road for sale in around two weeks’ time, after a developer committed to pay at least $9.33 million for it.

The bid, which works out to $94 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), is double that which URA received in 2008 when it last tried to sell the site. This has raised a few eyebrows, considering the soft state of affairs in the office market.

The 15-year-leasehold office site has a site area of 66,482 sq ft and a maximum permissible gross floor area (GFA) of 99,728 sq ft. It can accommodate a four-storey building.

DTZ executive director Ong Choon Fah believes that the parcel stood out because of its location, which is not too far from the central business district and is near entertainment spots at Clarke Quay. Companies in the creative industry may find the site attractive, she said.

Cushman & Wakefield Singapore managing director Donald Han agrees that the site’s location is appealing. Given the relatively high offer, he suggests that the bidder could be a firm looking to own and occupy the site, or a developer which ‘knows the game, and is confident of developing transitional office sites’.

He added that the bidder could be expecting a recovery in the office market and as a result, higher rents in future, after the development on the office site is ready around the second half of 2011.

Leasing activity in the office market has picked up in the last few months as the economy stabilised. ‘Although we expect office rents to continue to slide perhaps to the end of this year or early next year, the worst is probably over,’ says Mrs Ong. ‘There’s a lot more confidence.’

But both consultants do not expect to see many other bidders for the site when the tender is launched. With this bid being so much higher than the previous one, ‘there could be some segments saying ‘it’s not cheap’,’ Mr Han quipped.

URA had launched the site for sale in August 2008 when it was on the confirmed list. It received one bid of $4.65 million or $47 psf ppr from RSP Architects Planners & Engineers, but rejected it as it was too low. URA transferred the site to the reserve list in October that year.

The agency last sold a transitional office site at Scotts Road/Anthony Road in May 2008, for $32.99 million or $226 psf ppr.

Separately, owners of the freehold residential development Holland Hill Lodge have put their estate up for collective sale. The asking price ranges from $15 million to $16 million, and this translates to a land price of $1,038-$1,107 psf ppr, based on a gross plot ratio of 1.6.

The site measures some 9,033 sq ft and the existing GFA of the development is 18,086 sq ft. The owners are checking with the authorities on whether this GFA can be fully utilised upon redevelopment.

Credo Real Estate is marketing the site and the tender closes on Feb 25.

Source: Business Times, 29 Jan 2010

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