DUO: New mixed use development coming up in Bugis

S$3 billion mixed development property is set to vastly alter the Bugis skyline over the next few years.

Named DUO, the property will comprise residences, offices, hotel and retail space.

Its developer, M+S, jointly owned by Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional and Temasek Holdings, unveiled the design of the project on Wednesday.

By 2017, two new towers will be added to the Bugis skyline.

Enclosed in a park-like environment, DUO features 660 units of prime residences, 21 storeys of Grade A offices, a five-star hotel and close to 80,000 square feet of retail space.

Designed by a renowned architect Ole Scheeren, the project is connected to the Bugis MRT interchange that will link the East-West Line and the upcoming Downtown Line.

Its developers are optimistic it will draw strong interest when it launches for sale in early 2013 – with foreign buyers possibly eyeing the residential property.

Tan Sri Azman Yahya, chairman of M+S, said: “The large three international buyers in Singapore have been Malaysians, Indonesians and Chinese. So we expect that the ratio of buyers will be quite similar to any other offerings around the CBD (Central Business District) area. We do expect a significant number of international buyers.”

Property consultant HSR said homes in DUO could fetch up to S$2,000 psf depending on size, and a premium of 5 to 10 per cent, given its connectivity to the MRT station.

“Being a Khazanah project, we would expect demand to particularly come from Malaysian investors. The locality would boost the commercial hub status in the Bugis area. It has the potential of being Hong Kong’s ICC Tower or Kowloon East if marketed and priced properly to attract financial companies who are saddled with high cost within the financial district,” said Donald Han, special advisor at HSR Group.

The lack of Grade A offices in the area should also result in demand for the long term.

“Bugis office supply is confined to mostly grade B stock. The M+S office project can bring critical mass into the area, as a serious business hub. Residential within integrated mixed developments tend to enjoy a premium and sell well in today’s market,” added Mr Han.

Mr Scheeren said: “I have worked independently for Singaporean clients and independently for Malaysian clients and I think what is really exciting about the project is that this is indeed a joint venture between both of them. Both the way that that is translated into the architecture and also in a way what that symbolises in itself, it may be both sensitive but also extremely positive.”

However, analysts said initial marketing in 2013 may not result in strong take-up, given that pre-leasing usually rises a year prior to completion.

Some analysts also cautioned of downward price pressures on the prime residential market, in light of the government’s cooling measures.

Nicholas Mak, executive director at SLP International Property Consultants, said office rents in the Bugis area could also face a downtrend in 2013.

CapitaLand and UEM Land Holdings are the project managers of the development.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 14 Nov 2012

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