Saturday, April 6, 2013

China firm snaps up remaining condo units

The Straits Times  |  APRIL 04, 2013
It buys all 36 unsold units in 56-unit Hamilton Scotts boasting 'sky garage'

A Chinese firm has bought all 36 unsold units at a luxury project that has been in the doldrums despite offering buyers a "sky garage" that lets them park their cars next to the living room.

Reignwood Holding would have likely paid up to $407million for the block of posh apartments in the 56-unit Hamilton Scotts in Scotts Road, based on the developer's market rates.

The project has been caught in the squeeze hitting the high-end market, with 16 units sold in 2008 and 2009, but only four more since 2010.

Its Temporary Occupation Permit was issued in June last year.

Hamilton Scotts had been counting on its marketing trump card - the sky garage.

Residents can drive their cars onto a turntable in the basement carpark and place their thumb on a scanner for identification.

The car is then placed into a lift and taken to the resident's unit.

The developer, KOP Properties, a long-term business partner of Reignwood Holding, declined to specify the sale amount yesterday.

But it said it had been offering units at between $3,600 per sq ft (psf) for a 2,756 sq ft three-bedroom unit and $5,000 psf for a 6,975 sq ft penthouse.

The project consists of 52 three-bedders at 2,756 sq ft each, two junior penthouses at 3,229 sqft and two penthouses of 6,975 sq ft.

Only 20 three-bedders had been sold before Reignwood's purchase.

The most recent sale was agreed at $3,221 psf in March last year. Sale prices ranged from $2,300 to $3,676 psf, according to caveats lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Given the developer's offer prices, the Reignwood deal would be around $407 million, but analysts said it was more likely that the units were sold at a discount, given the market's luxury segment has been sombre in recent years.

KOP chairman Ong Chih Ching said in a statement yesterday that Reignwood's acquisition would complement its other developments, adding that KOP wanted to "make way for new and exciting projects".

Reignwood managing director Tom Tang told The Straits Times yesterday that it intends to sell the units, adding: "We believe that with an excellent property lke Hamilton Scotts and the right service, the luxury market will be very positive."

Mr Tang said Reignwood was "looking to expand its business footprint in Singapore" and "prefers iconic landmarks".
"We believe that Hamilton Scotts will help us enhance the Reignwood brand, not only in Singapore but also the rest of Asia."

Reignwood's founder is Thai-Chinese businessman Chanchai Ruayrungruang, who is worth US$1.4 billion (S$1.7billion), according to Forbes magazine recently.

The conglomerate, which is also the exclusive producer of the Red Bull energy drink in China, is based in Beijing and opened an office in Singapore at the PSA Building in November 2011. It has eight employees here.

Reignwood will buy the units by purchasing shares in Sardinia Properties, the unit of KOP that holds the Hamilton Scotts project.

When asked why it was not buying the units directly, Reignwood said a share purchase was the "preferred sale structure" agreed upon.

Companies buying residential property are subject to the highest additional buyer's stamp duty rate of 15 per cent.

Law firm Rodyk & Davidson's real estate partner, Mr Norman Ho, noted that while some companies may choose share purchases to save on stamp duty, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore said in January that it would scrutinise such transactions.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C

Senior Sales Director
DTZ Property Network Pte Ltd (L3007960A)

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