Condominium housing site at Yishun Ave 1and 2 up for sale

Condominium housing site at Yishun Ave 1and 2 up for sale

By Loh Kim Chin, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 29 January 2008 2237 hrs


SINGAPORE : A 27,000 square metre site at Yishun Avenue 1/Avenue 2 has been offered for sale under the confirmed list of the government land sales programme.


The 99-year leasehold site by the Housing and Development Board has been set aside for condominium housing.


It can yield up to 56,600 square metres in gross floor area.


The sale of the site is in line with the government’s plan to offer more housing choices in Yishun.


This is part of the “Remaking Our Heartland” plans to rejuvenate communities in middle-aged towns and estates. – CNA/ms


Source: Channel NewsAsia

Choa Chu Kang first station outside city to get mini mall

Choa Chu Kang first station outside city to get mini mall


By Maria Almenoar


CATCH an MRT train, LRT train, a bus or a good deal at Choa Chu Kang MRT station.


A mini mall has come up there, the first in a station outside the city centre.


Choa Chu Kang Xchange, officially opened by South West District mayor Amy Khor yesterday, takes after the shopping facilities found in the downtown Raffles Place and Dhoby Ghaut stations.


SMRT’s chief executive Saw Phaik Hwa said Choa Chu Kang station was picked as a location for the mall because of its high passenger traffic.


She said: ‘This is also the junction of the LRT, MRT and a bus exchange, so it’s unique in that sense.’


The mall sits on a field that used to separate the bus interchange from the MRT station.


It houses 42 shops with offerings ranging from food and beverages to clothing and hairdressing services within its 1,000 sq m premises.


Two dozen shops opened from the middle of last year, with the rest following at the end of last year and this month.


Housewife Ee Lai Fong, 40, is enjoying new-found convenience: ‘It’s easy for me to pick up food on my way home, especially when I’m busy with my two children.’


SMRT said that the rentals at these shops are similar to those at the Dhoby Ghaut and Raffles Place Xchange.


Last year, it had to deal with complaints from its tenants at the Dhoby Ghaut Xchange about poor shopper traffic.


Many tenants said they were behind on their rentals because they could only make up to $200 a day – not enough to cover the $2,000 to $7,500 monthly rental.


Ms Saw, referring to the incident, said the mix of tenants may not have been ideal and that certain tenants’ products or services did not fit in with the rest.


She added that Dhoby Ghaut Xchange has since turned around and is now more than 90 per cent occupied, with business growing by the month.


‘Why do exchanges work? Because they are nodes of thousands and thousands of people everyday…It is because we have the customers – that is why we build exchanges.’


SMRT, which made about $20 million in rental five years ago, expects to earn more than twice that this year.


Two other stations – Tanjong Pagar and Boon Lay – are slated to have mini malls by the middle of the year.


Source: Straits Times

Asian shares plunge on renewed US worries

Asian shares plunge on renewed US worries


Besides sub-prime and recession concerns, bad weather in China also spooks investors


By Goh Eng Yeow


STOCK markets sank across Asia yet again yesterday, sending investors scurrying for cover and stopping a three-day rally in its tracks.


The usual fears surfaced – sub-prime and jitters over the United States economy – with one more for investors to come to grips with: bleak weather in China disrupting transport and power supplies.


Concerns that the massive snowfalls would push up food prices and ignite inflation sent share prices in Shanghai plunging by a staggering 7.2 per cent – making it Asia’s worst performing bourse yesterday.


That set the tone elsewhere, with the sell-off slashing 4.3 per cent off Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index.


Singapore‘s Straits Times Index (STI) lost 118.42 points, or 3.8 per cent, to 3,041.06 – wiping out last Friday’s 109.39-point surge – as banks and property stocks came under selling pressure.


‘The swings in share prices are getting wilder and wilder. We practically have triple-digit swings in the STI every day,’ said brokerage dealer Ken Chan in Singapore.


One standout feature was a sharp drop in trading activity across the region. Volume here dropped by one-third to 1.4 billion shares, suggesting that most investors were not panicking.


The mood over the Wednesday to Friday rally last week seemed like another age as the barrage of gloom on the global front resumed with a vengeance.


Traders were sideswiped yesterday by remarks made in Davos, Switzerland, by Mr Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, who suggested that the credit crunch was so serious that cutting interest rates alone would not end the crisis.


This has cast a shadow over a widely anticipated interest-rate cut by the US central bank tomorrow at its rates-fixing meeting. The Fed had calmed global financial markets last Tuesday with an ’emergency’ rate cut of 0.75 percentage points – its biggest single cut in 26 years.


Merrill Lynch’s new chief executive, Mr John Thain, added fuel to fears over the US economy, with comments that problems in the troubled American mortgage market would spread to credit cards and consumer loans.


While local investors are feeling plenty of pain, the bloodletting is more pronounced in China and India, according to Citigroup Investment Research.


As shares plunged on Monday and Tuesday last week, foreign funds invested in Asian stocks sold US$1.12 billion (S$1.6 billion) of shares in giant China firms listed in Hong Kong and another US$848 million of Indian shares.


Both countries are seen as highly vulnerable if a recession hits the US, their largest export market.


The week ahead is likely to be marked by volatile swings amid quiet trading, said dealers, as investors stay cautious and wind down for the upcoming holidays.


Source: Straits Times

Many projects clinch URA provisional clearance in Q4

Many projects clinch URA provisional clearance in Q4


But developers are in no rush to launch condos ahead of Chinese New Year




A SLEW of projects from various segments – residential, hotels, office and industrial/warehouse – received provisional permission (PP) from Urban Redevelopment Authority in the fourth quarter of last year, based on official data released on Friday.


The private residential projects that bagged PP in Q4 included a 401-unit condo at Upper Thomson Road by UOL Group (on the former Green Meadows site), several strata housing projects at Gilstead Road and Paya Lebar Crescent and the high-profile Marina Bay Suites, whose preview incidentally has been postponed from the end of this month till after the Chinese New Year festivities.


URA data also showed that there are several high-end private residential projects that have secured the pre-requisites for sale – that is, Housing Developer’s Sale Licence and Building Plan Approval – but that had yet to be launched as at Dec 31, 2007.


These include Wing Tai’s 176-unit Belle Vue Residences at Oxley Walk, 45-unit Ardmore Point at Ardmore Park, 100-unit L’VIV at Newton Road, and City Developments’ 228- unit Sentosa Quayside and 77-unit Shelford Suites, among others.


Wing Tai deputy chairman Edmund Cheng said, when contacted by BT, that the group’s three projects are not quite ready for launch yet as the showflats, for one, are not ready. ‘It’s not a good time to launch in any case, as we’re crossing over to the Chinese New Year period,’ he added.


‘With all the global uncertainty, we’ll have to see how things pan out before we launch anything. But I don’t think it’s going to be all gloomy. I’m still quite positive about Singapore’s economic growth and this will provide the fundamentals for the property industry to go forward.


‘The consolidation in property prices we’ve been seeing for the past few months is a positive thing, bringing expectations to a more realistic level. Before that, prices were going up so fast, it was not to anybody’s interest including developers’, because our replacement costs were also so much higher,’ Mr Cheng explained.


Knight Frank executive director (residential) Peter Ow reckons it makes sense for most developers to hold back launching projects for now, because they would find it tough to achieve the kind of prices they may have in mind, in the current market.


‘Developers can afford to wait it out for a few months as most have strong financial muscle – thanks to the supernormal profits they’ve made in the past couple of years on the back of strong price appreciation, especially in the high-end segment,’ Mr Ow added.


Credo Real Estate managing director Karamjit Singh observed that residential developers are going ahead with securing planning approvals, designing their projects and building showflats but not in a rush with marketing them until sentiments become more conducive for launches, perhaps after Chinese New Year.


‘It’s a different story for developers of hotels and offices and to some extent industrial facilities. These sectors are experiencing a space shortage, especially for hotels and offices. So developers will rush to proceed with developing such projects once they receive planning approval,’ he added.


At least four hotel projects received PP in Q4: CityDev’s 257-room property at Sentosa Cove, CGH Group’s 272-room hotel in Tanjong Pagar, Haggai Institute for Advanced Leadership Training’s 180-room facility at Fairy Point Hill in Changi, and Hotel Grand Central’s 328-room hotel in Little India.


Two separate office developments on 99-year sites at Anson Road – by a unit of LaSalle Asia Opportunity Fund III, and by a Mapletree Investments subsidiary – clinched PP in Q4. URA also gave its nod for 144,870 sq metres (gross floor area) of office space and 5,530 sq m of retail space at Marina Bay Financial Centre’s Phase 2.


Also receiving the same approval were two transitional office projects on 15-year leasehold sites next to Newton MRT Station and in Tampines.


Among a string of industrial projects obtaining PP in Q4 were Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust’s 74,660 sq metre business park project at Changi Business Park Ave 3 and HG Metal Manufacturing’s factory at Jurong Port Road. Jurong Port Pte Ltd also received approval to build a 10,240 sq metre extension to its existing warehouse at Jurong Port Rd and URA gave the green light for StorHub Self Storage to develop a warehouse project at Simei Avenue/Tampines St 92.


Source: Business Times

A-Reit buys Acer Building for $75m

A-Reit buys Acer Building for $75m


It also bags warehouse in CBP, announces completion of HansaPoint




ASCENDAS Real Estate Investment Trust (A-Reit) has bought the Acer Building at International Business Park in Jurong East for $75 million or $344 per square foot of lettable area.


Market sources say the price reflects an initial yield of 6.5-6.8 per cent.


A-Reit yesterday also announced the purchase of Sim Siang Choon Building, on the fringe of Changi Business Park (CBP), from Sim Siang Choon Hardware for $31.89 million.


This is a four-storey warehouse with a first-storey showroom and a separate single-storey warehouse.


In addition, A-Reit said HansaPoint@CBP received a Temporary Occupation Permit on Jan 22 and has achieved full occupancy.


The $28.6 million project’s major tenants include Rohde & Schwarz Systems & Communications Asia, Credit Suisse and Citco Fund Services (Singapore).


The completion of HansaPoint@CBP and acquisition of the Acer and Sim Siang Choon buildings will have a positive effect on A-Reit’s distribution per unit (DPU).


A-Reit is buying Acer Building from Acer Computer International.


The deal involves Acer’s local subsidiaries Acer Computer (Singapore) and Logistron Services leasing back 23 per cent of the current net lettable area for five years with an option to renew for a further 3+2 years.


The building’s current occupancy is 97 per cent.


Acer Building‘s sale was handled by DTZ through an expression of interest exercise that drew five offers.


The other bidders are believed to have been two other Singapore Reits, Frasers Centrepoint and a private fund managed by Mapletree.


The property, a high- tech business park development, was completed in May 1996 on a site leased from JTC Corp for 30 years with an option to renew for a further 30 years. It has a total lettable area of 20,231 sq metres.


A-Reit’s manager says there is potential to create a further 1,200 sq metres of lettable space.


According to a report last year, Acer is paying JTC an annual land rent of $715,469 with escalation of 4 per cent a year as of Q3 2007.


The new owner is expected to pay JTC a slightly higher land rent each year, according to the report.


BT understands that A-Reit should enjoy considerable upside from positive rental reversion, as a number of leases in the building are up for renewal in the next one to two years.


Some of these tenants are paying monthly rent of $2 to $2.60 psf, whereas current rents for similar properties in International Business Park are $3.20 to $3.60 psf.


Besides Acer, other tenants in the building include Jacobs Engineering, Converge Asia and Nortrans Shipping.


Source: Business Times