Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lend Lease plans mall, office block on Jurong site

AUSTRALIAN property giant Lend Lease wants to build a mall and an office block on the Jurong Lake District site that it is tipped to secure after lodging the highest bid.

The firm said in a statement yesterday: 'The site has capacity for (about) 108,000 sq m of development, including a regional suburban shopping centre and commercial tower.'

'Lend Lease will utilise its integrated property capabilities to create and deliver a prime suburban shopping mall and commercial tower in Singapore,' said its chief executive, Asia, Mr Ooi Eng-Peng.

Lend Lease said it made the bid jointly with one of its managed funds, the Asian Retail Investment Fund.

They offered $748.89 million, which works out to $649.6 per sq ft of gross floor area, more than twice the minimum required amount.

The fund will own 75 per cent of the asset while Lend Lease will hold a 25 per cent direct interest.

Lend Lease said the development will be funded by a combination of non-recourse project based debt and equity. 'Project debt of over $800 million has already been secured,' it said.

It added that the development is in line with its strategy and represents 'a significant opportunity for Lend Lease to grow its retail platform in Singapore leveraging on the group's integrated capabilities'.

Lend Lease will provide development, design, project management, construction and retail property management services.

The Jurong site is next to Jurong East MRT station and is set to kick-start the transformation of the sleepy district into a vibrant Jurong Lake District. Plans for the entire Jurong Lake District will be implemented over 10 to 15 years.

Mr Ooi said the project is 'an important strategic transaction for our Asian business as we continue to grow our presence in the highly sought after Singapore retail market'.

The Asian Retail Investment Fund was launched in 2006 with 313@somerset in Orchard Road as its seed investment. The new project will see it fully invested.

Mr Ooi said the investment demonstrates the firm's confidence in Singapore's retail market. Lend Lease also owns and manages the popular Parkway Parade in Marine Parade.

Source: Straits Times, 26 Jun 2010

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