Friday, August 3, 2012

56% stake in Southbank on sale for $63m

Straits Times: Thu, Aug 02

REAL estate investor Chan Heng Fai of SingXpress Land is selling 32 Soho units and a retail outlet at Southbank for $63 million.

An expression of interest to sell was disclosed in a statement by property consultancy CBRE, the sole marketing agent.

Its senior manager of investment properties, Ms Sammi Lim, said the strong interest in strata-titled commercial property should attract local and foreign parties who are interested in potential rental and capital appreciation.

The properties constitute 56 per cent of Southbank Soho Block - a mixed development project built by UOL Group, comprising a 40-storey residential tower, 20-storey Soho (small-office home office) block with 16 shops on the first floor.

Of the 32 Soho units, 29 are duplex loft units. The duplex loft consists of units from 883 sq ft to 1,593 sq ft. Three are single level units ranging from 463 sq ft to 603 sq ft. The shop is 129 sq ft.

The development currently enjoys views over the Kallang River and Kallang Basin. The Urban Redevelopment Authority plans to rejuvenate the Kallang area to make it a lifestyle hub with offices and waterfront residences.

The asking price works out to $1,812 per sq ft and should mean a sizeable gain for Mr Chan and his investment holding firm Hong Kong-listed Xpress Group, the parent company of Catalist-listed SingXpress Land, as the properties were accumulated between 2006 and 2010.

Mr Chan bought 12 Soho in 2006 when the North Bridge Road complex was launched at a 5 per cent discount, or an average of $700 psf.

The most recent Soho purchase was done two years ago at about $1,450 psf. The project was completed two years ago.

The sale may attract those investors who want to avoid paying the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty or Seller's Stamp Duty.

As the Soho block is zoned commercial, these stamp duties will not apply.

The Straits Times understands that the sale of the units is part of Mr Chan's strategy to "switch angles to focus on residential developments".

A source close to the deal told The Straits Times: "There are a few loose commercial real estate assets (Mr Chan) may be looking to capitalise on, to reorganise the business and allow him to focus more on land and residential development."

Mr Chan, a self-professed "aggressive investor", built a fortune investing in shares and real estate but not without a bitter lesson in the early 1970s when he got burnt in a big way for buying stocks on speculation.

The Hong Kong native became a Singapore citizen last year because, in his own words, he was "confident about the property market here".

The deadline for expressions of interest ends at 3pm, Aug 31.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C
Senior Sales Director
DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA) Pte Ltd (L3006301G)

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