GuocoLand-Guoco Grp set to invest S$2.1b in Beach Road project

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GUOCOLAND did not give away any concrete plans for its future project on the Beach Road site which it was jointly awarded on Tuesday for S$1.622 billion.

However, industry observers expect it, together with its parent, Hong Kong-listed Guoco Group, to develop on the site an office, residential and retail project at a total cost of about S$2.1 billion to S$2.2 billion (including land price). The project is likely to be ready around 2022.

GuocoLand is in a 70:30 joint venture with Guoco Group to acquire the Beach Road plot.

The tie-up was the top bidder at a state tender that closed on Sept 28 and which attracted five bids. The GuocoLand-Guoco Group partnership's winning bid works out to S$1,706.30 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr).

The top bid was 3.2 per cent higher than the second-highest bid of about S$1,654 psf ppr by Kingsford, the owner of which hails from China.

The lowest, S$1,362 psf ppr, came from Far East Organization. The tender for the two-hectare, 99-year leasehold site was conducted by Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

While GuocoLand did not release information on its proposed scheme for the site, it painted a big-picture vision of its plans.

"We are looking forward to creating a futuristic project along Beach Road that is innovative and meets the needs of our 'future' customers," said Cheng Hsing Yao, group managing director of GuocoLand Singapore.

The group is planning to tap the "youthful and creative energy" of the area stretching from Beach Road to Bugis, to come up with an iconic project that will help the area become "another hub in the city-centre for business, living and fun".

Raymond Choong, group president and chief executive of Singapore-listed GuocoLand, said the group has "ambitious plans to create an innovative development which will set a new standard in the location", drawing on its experience with the Tanjong Pagar Centre integrated mixed-development.

Mr Cheng said: "The Beach Road site is the final and critical jigsaw piece that will link up the major developments in the area." The development will have good views of Marina Bay and Kallang Basin.

The Beach Road site can be developed into a maximum gross floor area (GFA) of 950,592 sq ft, of which at least 665,424 sq ft (70 per cent) must be for office use. The remaining GFA can be used for additional office, retail (subject to a maximum GFA of 32,292 sq ft), commercial school, hotel, serviced apartment or residential uses.

The former Beach Road Police Station sits on the site, which GuocoLand will restore.

Source: Business Times, 4 Oct 2017

GuocoLand joint venture wins Beach Rd site bid; promises 'futuristic' mixed development

A 70:30 joint venture between GuocoLand and Guoco Group has been awarded a 99-year leasehold commercial site at Beach Road, Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced on Tuesday.

The consortium had submitted the highest bid of S$1.622 billion during the tender, reflecting S$1,706 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr).

In a statement, GuocoLand announced plans to develop the site into an "iconic city centre work-live-play destination".

Raymond Choong, group president and chief executive officer of GuocoLand Limited said that they were delighted to have secured the rare, prime Beach Road site and "have ambitious plans to create an innovative development which will set a new standard in the location".

Cheng Hsing Yao, group managing director of GuocoLand Singapore said that the completion of the project will make the area attractive for office rentals and tourists.

"We will be introducing a futuristic project that will cater to the changing trends of work-live-play," he said, adding the development will have good views of Marina Bay and Kallang Basin.

Participants in the bidding included Kingsford Hurray Development, a consortium led by OUE and Cheung Kong Holdings-linked Japura Development, which was conducted by the URA.

The two-hectare site can be developed into a maximum gross floor area (GFA) of 950,592 sq ft, of which at least 665,424 sq ft (70 per cent) must be for office use. The remaining GFA can be used for additional office, retail (subject to a maximum GFA of 32,292 sq ft), commercial school, hotel, serviced apartment or residential uses.

The former Beach Road Police Station sits on the site, which GuocoLand will conserve and restore.

GuocoLand's recent projects include the newly completed integrated development Tanjong Pagar Centre and its latest high-end residential development Martin Modern.

Source: Business Times, 3 Oct 2017

Worst seems to be over for CBD Grade A office rental market

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JLL's view based on 2 quarters of rent and capital value growth, with the second coming in at a stronger pace

FIRMER signs of a turnaround in prime office rents and prices have emerged from the latest data from property consultancies, as Grade A office rents and prices in Singapore's Central Business District (CBD) not only improved for the second straight quarter but also rose at a faster clip.

This has led JLL Singapore head of research and consultancy Tay Huey Ying to opine that the worst appears to be over for this market.

"Two straight quarters of rent and capital value growth, with the second coming in at a stronger pace than the first, is a reaffirmation that the CBD Grade A office market is now firmly on a recovery path," she said.

Based on JLL's preliminary estimates, average monthly gross rent of Grade A offices in the CBD rose 4.3 per cent from a quarter ago to S$8.86 per square foot (psf) in the third quarter led by the Marina Bay sub-market, following a modest 0.7 per cent uptick in the second quarter that ended eight straight quarters of rental decline.

Estimates by Cushman & Wakefield based on its basket of CBD Grade A office spaces also pointed to two straight quarters of improvement in rents and prices. Monthly effective rents rose 3.4 per cent in the third quarter to S$8.90 psf, after posting a 1.7 per cent increase in the preceding quarter.

Its estimates showed that the rental increase in the third quarter was led by Shenton Way/Tanjong Pagar (7.4 per cent), City Hall/Marina Centre (5.6 per cent) followed by Marina Bay (3.7 per cent). Raffles Place rents rose the slowest at 0.8 per cent.

Christine Li, who heads research at Cushman & Wakefield, observed that leasing momentum was sustained in the third quarter as companies that were caught off-guard by the speed of the office market recovery "scrambled to commit in anticipation of further rental increases in 2018".

The major leasing transactions in the third quarter included Ocean Network Express taking up 50,000 sq ft of space at Marina One and giant coworking space operator WeWork occupying 28,000 sq ft of space at Beach Centre.

Investment interest in the office sector has also driven up CBD Grade A office prices. JLL estimated that capital values rose a steeper 5.1 per cent in the third quarter from a quarter ago to S$2,376 psf, compared to the 2.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in the second quarter. Cushman's estimates showed a 5.4 per cent rise in the third quarter to S$2,585 psf following a 3.4 per cent increase in the second quarter.

Such recovery in office rents and prices has come on the back of improving economic fundamentals and labour market. Government data released on Tuesday showed surging global demand for electronics once again lifting factory output in August. Manufacturing output jumped 19.1 per cent year-on-year in August, beating economists' expectations of a 16 per cent increase and following from a 21 per cent surge in July.

JLL Singapore head of markets Chris Archibold noted that business sentiment in many industry sectors is generally more positive now than a year ago, and this has increased occupier activity. "The rapid ramp-up of co-working demand has also had a very positive impact on sentiment," he said.

Ms Tay projected that CBD Grade A office rents and prices will continue trending up in the quarters ahead as the brighter economic outlook should continue to lift business confidence and support relocation of office occupiers.

"CBD Grade A office rents could post full-year growth of between 6 per cent and 8 per cent, given that the year-to-date increase stands at 3.7 per cent. Capital values are expected to outperform rents, and could chalk up growth in excess of 10 per cent for the whole of 2017," Ms Tay said.

But Mr Archibold also sounded a note of caution. "Many of the large occupiers with lease expiries before 2019 have already locked in their accommodation," he said. "In order to fill developments with significant vacancy, investors will either need to commit a larger number of smaller tenants, or look to attract occupiers with lease commencement dates more than 18 months away."

Ms Li noted that a two-tiered office market has emerged with new projects enjoying higher occupancy and rental recovery, while older and less efficient office buildings may struggle to fill the space vacated by tenants relocating to newer developments. But the market will experience stronger rental growth in subsequent years on the back of better economic prospects and a significant reduction in supply pipeline post-2017, she said.

Source: Business Times, 27 Sep 2017

CCT climbs CBD ladder with S$2.1b purchase of Asia Square Tower 2

The price it is paying works out to S$2,689 psf on NLA; rights issue that will partly fund the purchase will be yield dilutive in the short term

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CAPITALAND Commercial Trust (CCT) is finally making its debut in Singapore's premium Marina Bay office market with its acquisition of the office and retail space at Asia Square Tower 2 for S$2.094 billion or S$2,689 psf on net lettable area (NLA). The seller is BlackRock Asia Property Fund III.

This is the biggest office investment sales deal in Singapore so far this year, taking the year-to-date tally to S$6.38 billion, according to CBRE Research. The figure for the whole of last year was S$10.08 billion, buoyed by the sale of Asia Square Tower 1 at S$3.38 billion or about S$2,700 psf on NLA to Qatar Investment Authority.

CBRE and JLL brokered the sales of both towers.

JLL's head of capital markets, Singapore, Greg Hyland, said that "we expect (Singapore office) prices to pick up in the coming quarters as supply starts to taper down between now and the end of 2019".

Jeremy Lake, executive director of capital markets at CBRE, said that "one or two owners (of Singapore office buildings) have been tracking this deal pending making a decision to sell their own building".

CCT said its total acquisition cost for Tower 2, inclusive of transaction costs and acquisition fee, is S$2.151 billion.

The trust will fund the purchase through a combination of a fully underwritten and renounceable rights issue that will raise net proceeds of S$690.4 million, external bank borrowings amounting to S$1.12 billion and proceeds of about S$340.1 million from the divestments of One George Street or OGS (50 per cent stake), Golden Shoe Car Park and Wilkie Edge.

The rights ratio will be 166 rights units for every 1,000 existing units. Some 513.5 million rights units will be issued at S$1.363 per rights unit - translating to a 19.6 per cent discount to CCT's Sept 20 closing unit price of S$1.695 and a 17.3 per cent discount to the theoretical ex-rights price (TERP) of S$1.648 per unit. The counter was suspended for the whole of Thursday.

The rights issue, which closes on Oct 19, will result in some dilution to distribution per unit (DPU) from the actual figure of 4.56 Singapore cents for the first half of FY2017 to a proforma figure of 4.23 cents adjusted to factor in the effects of the OGS, Wilkie Edge and Golden Shoe Carpark transactions, the rights issue and the acquisition of Asia Square T2.

However, CapitaLand Commercial Trust Management's top brass instead highlighted that the growth trajectory of the earnings from Asia Square T2 is already visible. Based on the TERP, the proforma DPU yield for CCT would be 5.13 per cent (annualised) for H1 FY2017, higher than 4.62 per cent for the whole of FY2016. This is on the back of rising occupancy and net property income (NPI) from Asia Square T2.

Based on the S$2.094 billion price for this asset, the NPI yield was 3.1 per cent in FY2016 but rose to 3.4 per cent (annualised) for H1 2017. Based on the committed occupancy rate of 88.7 per cent as at June 30, 2017 - including leases signed with tenants that will begin on March 1, 2018 - the price reflects 3.6 per cent NPI yield.

The space that CCT is buying in Asia Square has a net lettable area of 778,719 sq ft comprising 753,445 sq ft of office space and 25,274 sq ft of retail space. The deal excludes the Westin hotel in the tower which BlackRock sold earlier.

Asia Square T2's average occupancy rate in H1 2017 was 81.2 per cent. "As we continue to lease (the vacant space), the impact of the acquisition to the portfolio DPU should be greater," said Lynette Leong, chief executive of CCTML. "This is the growth we are looking at Asia Square T2 and that is one of the reasons we are buying it."

Citing market stats showing that Singapore's Grade A office rents have reached a trough, Ms Leong said the acquisition will position CCT to benefit from the expected market uptick in Grade A office rents. "And given our track record of successful leasing strategies, we will be able to capture further rental income upside from increasing the property's ... occupancy in a rising market." Moreover, the low new CBD office supply completing till 2021 should help the trust to realise the upside in leasing out the vacant space in Asia Square Tower 2 "fairly quickly".

The acquisition also solidifies the trust's position as the largest office landlord in Singapore's central area, Ms Leong said. "CCT will be well anchored in all the key submarkets in Singapore's CBD namely Marina Bay, Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar and City Hall. And this will give a variety of locations and product offerings to our office tenants and to meet their needs from different business sectors."

CCTML chairman Soo Kok Leng highlighted the merits of the group's portfolio reconstitution strategy. One George Street (50 per cent stake) and Wilkie Edge were divested at exit yields of 3.2 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively, and are being replaced with the acquisition of a newer and higher yielding Grade A asset, Asia Square T2, at an initial yield of 3.6 per cent.

The property will also boost CCT's portfolio value from S$8 billion to S$10.1 billion and contribute about 15 per cent of CCT's proforma H1 2017 NPI.

The transaction is also poised to increase CCT's market capitalisation and potentially improve the counter's trading liquidity, Ms Leong added.

Vikrant Pandey, senior property analyst at UOB Kay Hian, said the transaction cements CCT's position as a quality office landlord. "Previously they did not have a piece of the New Downtown. The acquisition will be yield dilutive in the near term because of the rights issue but there is potential for yield accretion from this asset in the long term as the vacant space in the building is filled amid rising office rents."

Some market watchers are wondering why Asia Square Tower 2 is being transacted at slightly lower than Tower 1 given the improving sentiment in the office market lately. A property consultant offered this explanation: "The office market rent in Marina Bay in Q2 2017, the quarter prior to the Tower 2 deal, was lower than in Q1 2016 (prior to the sale of Tower 1 in June of that year). Furthermore the actual occupancy rate of Tower 2 is signficantly lower than that for Tower 1 at the the point of divestment."

Source: Business Times, 22 Sep 2017

Capitaland Commercial Trust buys Asia Square Tower 2 for $2.09b

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SINGAPORE - CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT) is acquiring Asia Square Tower 2 in Marina Bay from US private equity giant BlackRock for S$2.09 billion or S$2,689 per square foot.

The sale of Asia Square Tower 2 is the latest in recent blockbuster deals in Singapore's office market and comes a little more than a year after BlackRock sold the larger Tower 1 to Qatar Investment Authority for S$3.4 billion, or S$2,667.5 psf. It was then a record office transaction in both dollar amount and square footage.

Malaysian developer IOI Properties in November last year paid S$2.6 billion for a prime government land sale site at Central Boulevard, also in Marina Bay, while FWD Group, an insurance company backed by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, in May bought a 50 per cent stake in One George Street CCT for S$592 million.

Jeremy Lake, executive director of capital markets at CBRE, said the Asia Square Tower 2 deal "provides another pricing benchmark which reconfirms that the recovery in office rents and prices is well underway." CBRE was one of the advisers to BlackRock in the transaction.

CCT said in a media release on Thursday (Sept 21) it will fund its mega purchase through a combination of a fully-underwritten and renounceable 166 for 1,000 rights issue to raise gross proceeds of approximately S$700 million, external bank borrowings of S$1.12 billion, and proceeds of approximately S$340.1 million from the divestments of a 50-per cent stake in One George Street, Golden Shoe Car Park and Wilkie Edge.

It expects net property income (NPI) yield of 3.6 per cent per annum, based on a committed occupancy rate of 88.7 per cent as at June 30, 2017.

Located in the heart of Marina Bay, Asia Square Tower 2 is a 46-storey integrated commercial development comprising a premium quality Grade A office building and amenities including The Westin Singapore and a two-storey retail podium.

Completed in September 2013, the office and retail units in Asia Square Tower 2 have a combined net lettable area (NLA) of 778,719 square feet.

Mr Soo Kok Leng, chairman of the trust's manager, said, "The addition of Asia Square Tower 2 is a strategic move that is in line with our portfolio reconstitution strategy to rejuvenate CCT's portfolio with the addition of newer and higher yielding Grade A assets.

"With this acquisition, CCT is now well anchored in all the key sub-markets in Singapore's Central Business District: Marina Bay, Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar and City Hall; cementing its position as the largest landlord of prime office assets in Singapore."

Asia Square Tower 2 enlarges CCT's attributable office NLA to 3.5 million sq ft.

"This enhanced office portfolio places us in a strong position to generate respectable returns for unitholders over the long term," said Mr Soo.

Ms Lynette Leong, chief executive officer of the manager, said: "Market statistics have shown that Singapore's office market rents have reached a trough; hence, the acquisition will position CCT to benefit from the expected market uptick in Grade A office rents. Given our track record of successful leasing strategies, we will be able to capture further rental income upside from increasing the property's 88.7 per cent occupancy in a rising market."

Source: Straits Times, 21 Sep 2017

Gaw Capital poised to buy PoMo in Selegie

HK-based group in exclusive due diligence; price expected to be around S$350m for office and retail asset

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POMO, a nine-storey office and retail development in Selegie Road, is under exclusive due diligence for a transaction at around S$350 million. The potential buyer that is doing the due diligence is Hong Kong-based private equity real estate group Gaw Capital Partners, BT understands.

The transaction is being negotiated as a sale of shares in a 51:49 joint-venture company of Enviro-Hub Holdings Ltd and BS Capital that owns the asset.

BS Capital is owned by Raymond Ng Ah Hua, a controlling shareholder and the executive chairman of Enviro-Hub Holdings.

Located near Dhoby Ghaut and Bencoolen MRT stations, PoMo is on a site with a land area of 43,027 sq ft and a balance lease term of 94.5 years. Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority's Master Plan 2014, the site is zoned for commercial use.

The development has a gross floor area of almost 235,000 sq ft.

The price at which PoMo's sale is being negotiated reflects sub-4 per cent net yield based on the building's existing leases and occupancy rate.

PoMo has a net lettable area of about 180,000 sq ft comprising 110,000 sq ft of offices (from levels four to nine) and 70,000 sq ft of retail space (from basement one to level three).

The offices are fully leased, with education services provider Kaplan the biggest tenant.Almost the whole of level five is designated for the Community Sports Facilities Scheme and this space is occupied by The Little Arts Academy.

The retail space is understood to be around 85 per cent leased, achieving an average rent of about S$10 psf a month. Tenants include Evolve Mixed Martial Arts, Cosmoprof Academy, MOS Burger, Ya Kun Kaya Toast and other F&B outlets. PoMo has 143 carpark lots.

Based on earlier reports, the building underwent a refurbishment programme costing close to S$10 million in 2013, which was completed by its then owner, CLSA Capital Partners as part of its S$336 million sale of the property in the same year to Enviro-Hub and BS Capital.

CLSA in turn had acquired the property, formerly known as Paradiz Centre, for S$255 million in 2011 from Lendlease and Silverpeak Real Estate Partners.

For the ongoing sale by Enviro-Hub and BS Capital, the property was marketed through an expression of interest exercise conducted by CBRE and Colliers International that closed in late July. That exercise is said to have garnered more than half a dozen bids, with Gaw Capital offering the best terms.

In 2015, Gaw Capital bought Big Hotel in Middle Road for S$203 million which it has since refurbished and rebranded to Hotel G Singapore.

Since its inception in 2005 by brothers Goodwin and Kenneth Gaw in 2005, the group has raised equity of US$8.6 billion and has US$12.8 billion assets under management as at the first quarter of 2017, based on information on its website.

Source: Business Times, 19 Sep 2017

Office spaces outside CBD 'need to work harder'

They need competitive edge as rental gap between central area and beyond narrows, say market watchers

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THE rental gap between Grade A central business district (CBD) office space and those outside the district is the smallest that it has been in a decade. With CBD rentals having plummeted more than 20 per cent since the start of 2015 according to CBRE's index, city-fringe and suburban offices are finding themselves having to differentiate on building design and amenities to attract tenants.

CBRE data shows that the rental gap between the two regions has gradually narrowed from 64 per cent in Q1 2015 to 54 per cent in Q2 2017. CBD Grade A office rents averaged about S$8.95 per square foot (psf) in the second quarter.

Historically, the largest rental gap, at 114 per cent, occurred in Q3 2008 amid the brewing global financial crisis - a time when CBD office rents were averaging a jaw-dropping S$17-18 psf.

Michael Tay, executive director of office services on CBRE's advisory and transactions team, said that office rents have been trending downwards since early 2015, and started stabilising only in Q2 this year.

From Q1 2015 to Q2 2017, Grade A Core CBD rents declined 21.5 per cent, while rents in decentralised locations fell 14.7 per cent over the same period.

The way that the cycle moves seems to be that in an office market up cycle, the rental gap between the two regions will diverge; and in a down cycle, they converge.

This is because Grade A core CBD rents tend to lead and outperform the rest of the market in bullish times. Conversely, rents in decentralised locations offer more stability through the cycles, with less profound movements in rents through good and bad times.

CBRE expects office rents to bottom out and increase about 7 per cent in 2018. Some in the market believe that when that happens, a widening rental disparity will cause CBD tenants to consider moving out into the city-fringe to save on costs.

Mr Tay begs to differ, however, saying that the current tight labour market has made it more competitive for companies to attract and retain talent; and that employees still tend to like to work in the city.

"If you look at the last two to three years, Google was the only notable one that relocated out of the CBD into a decentralised location (Mapletree Business City)."

Others such as Grab and Uber are moving into the city. Grab is reportedly vacating its Sin Ming premises to take 100,000 sq ft in Marina One; Uber has shifted into Guoco Tower in Tanjong Pagar.

Within the city, there are also movements - Facebook will be vacating its premises at South Beach Tower to move to Marina One; Microsoft is going to Frasers Tower upon its completion in mid-2018 from its current location at One Marina Boulevard.

How then can decentralised office building owners compete for the occupiers' pie in this tenants' market?

Mr Tay said: "The decentralised office and business park locations that do really well are the ones that have a combination of good quality space and amenities that create a precinct.

"Hence, they are attractive to occupiers that want to go slightly outside the CBD to enjoy rental savings, but at the same time do not want to risk upsetting the dynamics of its human resource."

He added: "Talent attraction and retention is a big thing now in Singapore . . . While many companies are concerned about real estate costs, they are also mindful of the impact on human resource if they make a wrong location decision."

For instance, at Paya Lebar Quarter, the developer LendLease is currently in talks with six to seven potential multinational corporation tenants, some of whom are financial companies, including high-growth financial technology players.

Richard Paine, managing director of Paya Lebar Quarter, feels that suitable tenants for the development would include "companies that may be in the CBD at the moment but are growing rapidly, and that growth cannot be accommodated in the CBD".

He added that he has noticed a global trend of financial institutions opting for a city-fringe location, rather than splitting their front and back offices into the core CBD and suburbs respectively.

All three towers of its office development, offering about 880,000 sq ft in floor area, will be completed in the second quarter of 2018.

Mr Paine said LendLease is positioning the development as a progressive office project designed with the health and wellness of its occupants in mind.

Besides its biophilic design (the incorporation of nature into the built environment), it also has facilities such as showers and bicycle parking to encourage healthy lifestyles. There will also be Wi-Fi-enabled public and break-out spaces for those who prefer to work outside their office cubicles.

"That's the proposition we offer against the CBD, which is a more stressful environment where commuters have to fight for space on trains or in traffic when they come to work . . . Not everyone wants to be in the city because there are a lot of negatives to being in the city," he said.

The connectivity that technology affords has also helped to negate the need for companies such as law firms and professional service providers to be located within the CBD in order to be near their clients, he added.

Still, Cushman & Wakefield research director Christine Li believes that the CBD, originally fashioned as Singapore's business and financial hub, will continue to remain so.

Decentralised offices will not be poaching long-time CBD tenants anytime soon. Rather, their appeal would lie in housing designated clusters for related companies within a certain industry, or in catering to companies that want to co-locate in a more campus-like environment.

She said the Jurong area may in time emerge as an example of a "knowledge-based campus" which integrates high-specification facilities with amenities and communal spaces conducive for innovation.

As for technology companies, she believes that there is currently no cost pressure to draw them to decentralised locations because the CBD still has a branding effect, and their talent pool comprises mostly young millennials who still prefer to work in the city centre.

"For the mid-sized tech firms such as Grab, Carousell, Airbnb and LinkedIn, they have not reached a critical mass where they need to have their own buildings like the established technology companies," she said. All these companies are currently still located in the CBD.

Source: Business Times, 19 Sep 2017

Nam Cheong sells office units at Suntec for $25 million

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On September 7, Nam Cheong Limited announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Nam Cheong Property, will grant an Option to Purchase to a third-party purchaser. The sale involves office units #41-01, #41-02, and #41-03 of 8 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec Tower 3.

The Suntec property has a remaining lease period of approximately 70 years and 6 months. The property consists of 3 office units in a 43-storey office block, and a gross floor area of approximately 2,301 sq m.

According to Nam Cheong, the property will be sold for $25,040,560, which is a loss on disposal. Nam Cheong’s Board has decided that the disposal is in the interests of the group. All proceeds will be applied towards settlement of outstanding amount under a credit facility by DBS Bank and secured by the Suntec Property. This will reduce the group current financial liabilities and borrowings in light of on-going discussions relating to a Proposed Debt Restructuring.

Source: Edge, 13 Sep 2017

Work starts on Jurong Lake District hotel

THE company behind Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) has started building the first hotel in one of Singapore's newly-emerging business and leisure hubs, Jurong Lake District.

Genting Singapore broke ground yesterday for the new hotel on Jurong Town Hall Road which is slated to open in the first half of 2015.

The Jurong Lake District has been earmarked by the Urban Redevelopment Authority as a new growth area with commercial, business and leisure facilities.

The 550-room hotel, five minutes away from the Jurong East MRT station, is on a 9,027 sq m site and has a 99-year lease.

Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman of the Genting Group and executive chairman of Genting Singapore, said the new hotel "signifies our commitment to reinvesting in Singapore".

"With our hotel being the first to open in this growing precinct, we hope to create another unique hospitality product that will crank up the buzz meter in this already vibrant area to even higher levels," he added.

Mr Tan Hee Teck, president and chief operating officer of Genting Singapore, said: "We will deliver a product that will bring incremental business to neighbouring merchants, accommodation convenience to companies in the vicinity, and amenities to Jurong West residents."

The new hotel will be the seventh hospitality development for Genting Singapore, which owns six hotel properties at RWS - Crockfords Tower, Hotel Michael, Festive Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, Equarius Hotel and the Beach Villas.

Source: Straits Times, 12 Jul 2013

Government studying possibility of selling larger land parcels in Jurong Lake District

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THE government is studying the possibility of putting up larger land parcels in the Jurong Lake District (JLD) for sale within the next few years.

“With that, we can create a critical mass of developments once the High-Speed Rail (HSR) terminus starts its operations,” Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said on Friday.

The development of the JLD, which will take at least 15 to 20 years, is primed to create 100,000 new jobs and add 20,000 new homes with recreational and leisure options.

It will start with the area around the terminus for the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur HSR that will be operational by 2026, Mr Wong said.

He was speaking at the launch of an exhibition to showcase the draft master plan of the JLD, which is positioned to become Singapore’s second Central Business District.

Most of the mixed-use business area in the district will be zoned “white” to allow developers to curate a mix of uses under certain conditions; the regular grid structure will allow the government to sell land parcels of varying sizes more easily.

Other bold plans for JLD include district-level infrastructure and car-lite initiatives such as consolidated underground car parks, and public transit-only streets.

The target is to achieve more than 80 per cent for public transport mode share within the district, compared to the islandwide average of 66 per cent.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said that it is also working with relevant agencies on plans to consolidate goods deliveries coming into the district.

It is mulling the possibility of having a logistics centre located just outside the JLD as part of its aim to reduce freight vehicles traffic in the district by at least 65 per cent during peak hours.

These are among proposals that are put up for public consultation on the district's master plan.

The blueprint for JLD was first unveiled in the 2008 Master Plan when the area was earmarked as a new growth area with two precincts. It will be home to the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High-Speed Rail terminus.

The URA had, in February, a team led by KCAP Architects & Planners as consultant to develop the detailed master plan for JLD.

"Landlords can combine or co-locate non-traditional uses such as schools, community facilities, hotels, MICE facilities, attractions, museums and event spaces for companies and universities to meet and showcase their prototypes, to accommodate the needs of tenants and the market," the URA said.

"The ground floors of the developments will have generous public spaces, courtyards, through-block pedestrian links, and possibly retail and F&B offerings to encourage interaction, networking and participation in activities, creating a vibrant and lively environment in JLD."

A significant amount of road space in JLD will be set aside for public transport, and more space for pedestrians, cyclists and users of personal mobility devices (PMDs).

Each development in the district will be near a bus-stop or MRT station with seamless connections; each person will be no more than 400 metres or a five-minute walk from an MRT station or bus-stop.

District-level systems will also be implemented in JLD.

These include common services tunnel, district cooling system, pneumatic waste system and urban logistics management systems. Where possible, these systems will be placed underground to free up above-ground space for people-centric uses.

Some 16 hectares of new parks and open spaces will be added in the district, complementing the existing 90-hectare Jurong Lake Gardens.

To improve JLD's connectivity to surrounding areas, the government is looking at alleviating traffic on existing roads to Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE). It will introduce a new road to the AYE to divert traffic away from roads such as Jurong Town Hall Road.

The draft master plan will be exhibited at the URA Centre Atrium from Aug 25 to 31 and at Westgate from Sept 8 to 17 for members of the public to visit and give their feedback.

Source: Business Times, 28 Aug 2017